In a Nutshell:
FOOD: I rolled outta there.
We literally tried +-15 dishes. It was overwhelming, intimidating, and damn delicious. I’m a huge sharer and I love me some sauce, so the starters served with a range of homemade chillis hit the spot. The Thai Green Curry didn’t pack much of a flavour punch, but other than that, each dish was well conceived and put together, beautifully plated, and made for really fun, interactive eating.
AMBIANCE & SERVICE: A place to eat – and be seen.
This place is very, very cool. From floor to ceiling, the decor is super stylish and considered. Everywhere you look there is something to be intrigued by (and a place to snap a pic for Instagram.) The staff are attentive and knowledgable, without being pretentious. On Thursday evenings, the space transforms into one of Cape Town’s hottest bars, with a live DJ keeping eaters and drinkers happy.
PRICE: You Decide
You can go all out and order 15 starters, a pricy main and top it off with cocktails and dessert; or you can have a drink, a few starters to share and keep it more affordable. They also have a great half-price lunchtime Ramen & Sushi special if you want to feed the craving without emptying your pocket.
K cool, now the long version.
When we’re invited to do a review, we generally eat like regular human beings and enjoy a nice 3 course meal. At Macau Asian Tavern, Chef Kuan was like “nah, you trying everything”. I was thrilled and terrified. But more thrilled, let’s be honest. “What’s with the Asian slash Portuguese combo?” you may or may not be asking. Well, Macau is in China, but it used to be a Portuguese colony, which influenced much of the food in the region.
As the plates started coming out, my heart started racing and I immediately loosened my belt. Ok, I wasn’t wearing a belt, but you know what I mean. They have a range of dishes, at various price points, to interest open-minded and fussy eaters. There are also options for Pescatarians, Vegetarians, and a few for Vegans too. I am just going to comment on a few stand out dishes, otherwise you’ll be here for hours.
Chilli Salt & Pepper Calamari // 80
This is one of those dishes I would never order myself. My theory has always been that once you have a good one, you’ve had them all. So I was glad I didn’t choose. Perfectly crispy and deliciously spicy as it was made with Smoked Sichuan peppercorns. What a treat.
Prawn Lollipop // 110
This was a firecracker of a dish. Panko-crumbed and deep-fried to a beautiful gold, these were packed with big pieces of juicy prawn, not just ground down mush, and right in the centre was oozing smoked mozzarella. Not the easiest to eat, but worth every messy bite.
Salted Cod Fritters // 75
Chorizo & Olives // 85
Marvin melted at the sight, and then the taste, of this dish. He gave me one of those “I am sorry you don’t eat meat” looks. This Smoked Portuguese Chorizo stew, was slow cooked with Calamata Olives, oodles of garlic, Smoked Paprika, and bay leaves, then served with a fresh roll. The smell that came off this dish, was truly intoxicating, even for me. Paprika is one of my favourite spices, not just because of it’s vibrant colour, but it’s subtle peppery flavour – and smoked paprika really takes things up a notch.
Thai Green Vegetarian Curry // 115
Unfortunately, this was the most disappointing of the dishes. Baby marrow, brinjal, bamboo shoots, and broccoli, cooked with coconut milk, lemon grass, lime leaves and Thai basil. We could taste the coconut milk, and at a reach, a hint of the lemon grass, and that was about it. The naan that came with it was 100% the most delicious buttery naan that I am had in a long time. I was sad that the curry didn’t hit the spot.
Aromatic Crispy Duck, Mandarin Pancakes // 150
This house favourite was another one that had Marvin swooning. Build-Your-Own crispy roasted aromatic duck served with Chinese Thin Mandarin pancakes, spring onions, fresh cucumber, and a sweet and sticky side sauce. I always talk about food being truly satisfying when it’s a combo of textures, temperatures, and flavours (sweet, spicy, salty, acidic, umami) and this dish hit every mark.
Crayfish Bao // 95
One of the more pricy items on the menu, a plumb bao, or fluffy steamed bun, filled with crayfish tempura, kimchi and garlic chili aioli. Filled with all of my favourite things, it was absolutely delicious in every way, but if you’re trying to keep your bill down, not a dish you should go for.
All in all, we had an over the top and decadent experience at Macau. I’m well-aware that most people aren’t going to restaurants and ordering half the menu – I mean, if we hadn’t been invited, I wouldn’t have either. But it was a really beautiful eating experience that’s made for sharing. Check out their Daily Lunchtime specials and be sure to visit one night for live music, delicious drinks, and and all-round good time.
Directions to Macau Asian Tavern
101 Hout Street
021 422 2400