Saturday, 23 June 2012

Refreshed from the Archive: Macaron Afternoon Tea @ Rendezvous, Sofitel Macau At Ponte 16


The "I Love Macarons Room Package" that was all the rage last year has returned to Sofitel Macau! I really enjoyed the Macaron Afternoon Tea included in the package. Check out this review I wrote in 2011 and see if you would love to give it a try this year! 



Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 is usually where I stay when I visit Macau because of its reasonable room rate. The hotel is pretty decent on the whole, though I always find its uber-ornate yet brash interior a huge put-off (but to be fair, which new hotel in Macau isn't like that??). The decoration of Rendezvous, the lounge where afternoon tea is served, is basically a hotchpotch of dazzling gold, sparkling crystal, shiny mirrors and glossy satin. Just looking at this picture is enough to make my eyes ache... 



As part of the Macaron Afternoon Tea promotion, a macaron tree at the entrance of Rendezvous greeted every guest. :) 



The macaron tea set arrived within 20 seconds after the order was placed. Props to the staff for their efficiency! But it took me a painfully long time before I could get a satisfactory shot of the tea set. The spiral tea stand was neat (though it would look nicer if it's not made of plastic) but it certainly posed a challenge to photographers...



Starting from the bottom tier: Macarons with panna cotta (mango, strawberry, mint and aloe vera), passionfruit(?) macarons



Also on the bottom tier: salmon macaron (2 pieces), goat cheese macaron, foie gras macaron



Moving up the spiral: wasabi macarons, chocolate macarons



Towards the top: coconut macarons, raspberry custard macarons, macaron cones filled with peanut butter



The little macarons on ascending tiers formed a rainbow staircase. :) Not only they were nice to look at, they were also made to near-perfection (perfection = Pierre Hermé macarons). The delicate shells were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, an indication of the chefs' skillfulness. Apart from the goat cheese macarons, which tasted exactly like a piece of damp and mouldy rag, all the macarons were delicious. It was interesting that the chefs had replaced traditional sandwiches with savoury macarons - a variation that added fun and surpsise to the tea set. The salmon and foie gras macarons were just wonderful! The former was filled with a velvety, creamy paste of salmon, while the latter was loaded with a rich foie gras pate with a hint of figs. Who would have imagined the fragile, bite-sized macarons to be bursting with such intense flavours? ;) Relative to the savoury macarons, the sweet macarons tasted more conventional but they were no less scrumptious. There were also some creative touches to the sweets, best illustrated by the passionfruit macaron that came with a dropper filled with juice (or liqueur?). Give the dropper a light squeeze and enjoy the macaron brimming with juiciness. Oh, don't worry about leakage as the bottom of the macaron was sealed by a layer of white chocolate. Clever, huh? ;)



Besides the high-quality macarons, I was also wowed by the tea served with the tea set. In addition to a wide range of Ronnefeldt tea, Rendezvous stocks almost the full range of Tea Forté iced tea! Even more amazing is that they serve the iced tea in Tea Forté's original Tea-Over-Ice brewing pitchers! I've always wanted a set because the stacked design is so cool. Tea is first steeped hot in the upper pitcher and then chilled in the lower pitcher filled with ice cubes. I ordered an iced white ginger pear, which was sweet like honey and mildly spicy. It's my new found favourite!



In one of the corners of the lounge, there's a station where a pastry chef created made-to-order macarons (at an extra cost, about MOP65 per half a dozen). It's a fun idea, but the piping bags didn't look very appetizing. And I couldn't help wondering how they would dispose of all those macaron shells by the end of the afternoon - the shells were obviously exposed in the air for hours and they were in such abundance that it would be impossible to sell them all. I became a bit concerned by the freshness of my macaron tea set... I could only say that at least they tasted fresh. :o When you dine out, you just don't want to know too much about what's going on in the kitchen... 



The macaron station had brought me some unease, but only BEFORE I received this beautiful gift. It's a box of chocolate and vanilla macarons, included in the room package! And I was happy again. Hehe... :P


THE VERDICT
Ambience: C 
Service: B++ (for being efficient and so patient with some of the mannerless Mainland customers!)
Food: A- (I would have given them an A had I not seen the macaron counter...)
Overall remarks: Though Rendezvous might not be the most pleasant place for tea and I had some doubts over the freshness of their macarons, the macarons were top-notch taste-wise (and did appear fresh!). The chefs had put so much thoughts into the tea set that although it consisted of nothing but macarons, the great variety of flavours and inventive touches had kept the tea experience exciting from the start to the end. You will find this tea set a pure bliss, especially if your genotype is XX! ;)


INFO
Rendezvous (website)
1/F, Sofitel Macau At Ponte 16, Rua do Visconde Paco de Arcos, Macau
*I love Macarons Room Package available from now to July 31 2012
From HKD1600 per room per night, including Macaron Afternoon Tea for 2 and other benefits. See details here


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