Delish Eats: Mesa by Jose Avillez, Premium Contemporary Portuguese Dining
June 28, 2023
Restaurant history: Mesa opened in 2021 in the forefront of a unique relationship between Macau and its former colonial father, and the late designer Karl Lagerfeld and Michelin-celebrated chef Jose Avillez. Here is an experience of decadent Portuguese taste and Italian design bravado promoting Macau as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.
Chef story: Notably crowned two Michelin stars at Belcanto in 2019, the first of any Portuguese chef to do so, chef Jose Avillez approaches his Macau collaboration with a fine gastronomic approach: to elevate and popularise Portuguese food for a demanding Macanese food scene.
What’s the vibe and venue like: Designed by Karl Lagerfeld in direct communicado with Avillez, the interior of the restaurant follows distinctly with the hotel’s core theme: bold geometric patterns and dashes of black, white and gold. It’s a quiet affair at Mesa; the experience is meant for soothing meet ups, pouring love over the food and life.
How much does it cost: A meal with four cold and hot starters, two mains, and two desserts for three people ran to MOP1254 before cocktail and drinks and fees.
What is the menu about: Traditional Portuguese dishes brought into a new style and light to fit a fine-dining format, the allure of the luxurious Karl Lagerfeld hotel, and Avillez’s direction to highlight the gastronomic power of Portugal. Expect a meal focusing on salt and spice, with a thankful lack of heavy carbohydrates.
What did we order: Tempura cone with tuna tartare and spicy soya (MOP138), Beetroot tartare with caviar (MOP198), Beef croquette with truffle mustard (MOP118), Crispy codfish balls (MOP108), Creamy codfish with eggs (MOP168), Piri Piri chicken with French fries (MOP338), Kumquat signature ball (MOP98), and Caramelo Salgado (MOP88).
Beetroot tartare with caviar: This seasonal southern Portuguese starter typically only blends diced cooked beetroot with seasonings. However, Mesa introduces dollops of cream, infusions of olive oil, garlic, and topped with caviar to mix silky textures with notes of the sea.
Beef croquette with truffle mustard: Arguably one of the more aesthetic plates served for our dinner, each croquette is topped with a dollop of truffle mustard to cut the fat of the beef puree, earthy and salty in taste, whilst embracing the theme of cool and designer food.
Creamy codfish with eggs: What’s not to love from this dish! The silky texture of the codfish, wrapped in wheat noodles, plays with your tongue, salivating for yet another bite. The inclusion of salt cod on the menu holds Mesa to its authenticity, a true classic in Portugal.
Piri Piri chicken with french fries: The Piri Piri chicken is uniquely elevated in its Mesa-form. The cuts are served within a charcoal box infused with a delectable smoky aroma. The Piri Piri sauce holds a sweet spice, with the french fries, cooked in beef fat, addictively salty.
Kumquat signature ball: Served in a bright orange bowl, this cute dessert finishes the meal off with a tangy palate cleanser. Crack open the hard shell to reveal a piquant aromatic foam inside.
What we liked: The codfish was a hit in my books, ushering us from Macau’s heat to Lisbon’s warmth, enjoying pleasant bites of salty cod. In the theme of authenticity, the Piri Piri chicken followed with a smoky, pickled spice flavour, and juicy fat to wow us with each bite.
What we didn’t like: The beef croquette tasted good, with a strong umami flavour and slightly nutty. I wished the truffle mustard was a dip to match the fat, with a vinegary sauce to remove the level of fat.
What you should order: Creamy codfish with eggs, Cascais style King Crab, Garlic Prawn with butter and chilli, Piri Piri chicken with fries, Mesa seafood rice, Lisbon style beefsteak with sliced potato.
Location: Mesa by Jose Avillez, Shop 301, Level 3, THE KARL LAGERFELD, Rua do Tiro, Cotai, Macao
Contact details: +853 8881 1800
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by the Grand Lisboa Palace in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.
Enjoyed this article? Check out our previous Delish Eats reviews here.
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