Grand Lisboa Hotel
2/F, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau Peninsula, Macau, China
Tel: (853) 8803 7788
Food type: Chinese (Cantonese) Gastronomy
Website: the Eight
The number ‘8’ is considered lucky amongst the Chinese people. It signifies prosperity, wealth and good fortune. Thus, it makes absolute sense to name a restaurant located in the Grand Lisboa Hotel, the premier gambling hotel in Macau, after this auspicious number.
As you arrive, you are greeted with a recurring ‘8’ motif (having multiple 8s is considered very lucky). You then pass through a hallway surrounded water trickling down the wall (a sign of ever-flowing wealth) into the dining room of red, black and gold. Goldfish motifs surround the walls. Everything is designed to symbolise good luck and fortune with the lure that by dining here, you will be able to take some of it to the casino floor.
I have dined at the Eight twice. Once in 2011, when the restaurant only held 2*s and was half empty on a Saturday lunch service and more recently in 2015, with the restaurant holding 3*s and the dining room being jammed packed on a weekday lunch. This time around, the focus would be on the a la carte menu as I wanted to see if the superlative dim sum I experienced the first time around would be replicated in the full menu.
Here is an interesting tidbit I would like to share. Those who know me in person know that I like posting food pictures on Facebook. I have whole albums dedicated to food. One of those pictures got a work colleague of mine talking to me via Facebook chat. That was in 2011, the picture was of the swan dim sum taken at the Eight. We are now engaged and waiting to get married!
The meal started off strongly with two amazing amuse bouches – a small tartlet containing stir-fried chicken and bell peppers and a spoon containing pomelo and braised baby abalone. Both bites were small explosions of flavour in your mouth. Moving on, some dim sum items include their signature Steamed Cristal Blue Shrimp Dumpling in Goldfish Shape. This is a very unique and elegant way of presenting the humble ‘Har Gao’ and is now copied in various restaurants in Hong Kong. However, to achieve the fish shape, a thicker, chewier dumpling skin has to be used which impacts on the final product.
One of the items that we really enjoyed was the Crab Claw Steamed with Egg White. This is a classic Cantonese dish yet here the execution is simply flawless – the crab claw plump, juicy and tender sitting on a bed of egg white so smooth and silky you wonder if it was a puff of cloud you were eating. The egg white is carefully spiked with vintage hua diao wine to make this a proper grown up dish. Another favourite of ours was the Shredded Chicken with Crispy Skin and Pomelo in Honey Flavoured with Lime Sauce. The chicken is meticulously bathed in hot oil so as to achieve a glass like texture of its skin. The combination of pomelo and lime works an absolute treat with the juicy chicken meat.
Not all dishes were as successful – a Sea whelk baked in Portuguese sauce was fine but was a bit too rich for my liking compared to the version served at 2* Sun Tung Lok in Hong Kong.
Desserts are usually not a strong point in Chinese restaurants but something to look out for on the menu is their Chilled Mango Sweet Soup with Pomelo and Strawberry. This Cantonese classic is given a little twist with the addition of strawberries which adds some welcoming acidity and makes this dish truly special.
the Eight is the best Cantonese/ Chinese restaurant in Macau by a country mile and runs a close second to Lung King Heen (yes I know this is a controversial choice). As with most Cantonese restaurants, the large menu and variety of dishes means that some dishes you encounter will be better than others – we encountered a fair few duds dining here the first time around. It is therefore imperative that you do a bit of research prior to dining here to ensure that you are able to experience all that this fine restaurant has to offer.