From picturesque Provence villages nestled in fields of lavender to the grand boulevards of Paris, at the heart of every French community there lies a brasserie. Warm and welcoming, these relaxed restaurants provide a place for family and friends to gather over a long lunch, or while away an evening wining and dining a loved one.
Stepping into The Parisian Macao’s Brasserie from the Avenue Montaigne of Shoppes at Parisian, you could be mistaken for believing yourself in the City of Light itself. Dark wood panels, mosaic tiles, Art Deco inspired elements and brass fixtures evoke all the romance of Paris in the Roaring Twenties.
And it is not only the decor that feels genuine. From the inviting hum of animated chatter that fills the dining room to the authentic aromas of the dishes emerging from the kitchen, this is perhaps as close as one can get to real-deal Gallic brasserie fare in Macao.
This is largely thanks to the head chef at Brasserie, Daniel Brolese, a Frenchman with a passion for the tastes of his home terroir, who happened upon his love of cooking at an early age. “I grew up on a farm in the southwest of France.
One morning while my mum went to the market she asked me to cook the soup – I was 10! We all survived and I have loved cooking ever since,” explains Brolese, who studied at prestigious hospitality school Vatel in Bordeaux and has worked in Canada, Japan and Hong Kong before Macao.
He brings a healthy serving of passion to Brasserie, where he has enjoyed working toward the restaurant’s launch. “It’s always very exciting to be part of an opening team. It has been very challenging because we have had such an overwhelming response since opening but we have formed a great team,” he says. For Brolese, the most exciting thing about Brasserie is “bringing traditional and authentic French cuisine back to life. I believe that we are the most authentic brasserie in Macao and this reminds guests of their experiences travelling in Paris.”
Indeed Brasserie’s signature dishes evoke the golden era of Gallic gastronomy. Take, for example, the bistro classic Steak Tartare. The seemingly simple dish of raw beef and seasoning bound together with an egg yolk affords Brolese the opportunity to exercise his ability, which he does adeptly. “We use three different cuts of prime beef, including Waygu. It’s well seasoned and very balanced in flavour.”
Then there is the Gratinée à l’Oignon, which some might recognise as French onion soup. This particular iteration of the much-loved comforting dish derives from the legendary Paris brasserie Au Pied de Cochon in Les Halles and is bursting with cheesy goodness, and topped with comté cheese croutons for an extra bit of bite.
From one firm French favourite to another in the form of Brasserie’s Galette Complète. Often considered a square-shaped pancake with a savoury filling – in this case emmental cheese, a fried egg and Paris ham, with a green salad on the side – it is made, Brolese explains, using buckwheat flour imported directly from Brittany, where the dish originates from.
For something slightly more substantial, meat lover will enjoy the Tournedos Rossini, a well-known French classic that is rich in flavour and made from pan-fried fillet mignon, duck foie gras and black truffle sauce. Thought to have been created by one of the pioneers of haute cuisine, Marie-Antoine Carême, this indulgent recipe is emblematic of all that is revered in Gallic cuisine – masterful preparation, stunning presentation and depth of taste.
However, if that sounds a little too heavy, there is always the Sole de Douvres Meunière. “Another traditional dish using fresh Dover sole cooked in clarified butter, topped with a beurre noissette with lemon and parsley,” says Brolese, Brasserie’s Sole Meunière – served with Ratte potatoes and sautéed spinach – is light, fragrant and cooked to perfection.
Staying with the fruits of the sea, another must-try is the Bouillabaisse. A popular dish from the southern port city of Marseille, this seafood stew was historically made by fishermen using fennel, saffron and the spoils of their daily catch. Brasserie’s version elevates the original offering somewhat, adding red mullet, prawns, lobster, clams, scallops and mussels with potato and rouille, a garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper-infused sauce.
From the southern Mediterranean shores of France to its northeastern border with Germany and the Alsatian speciality choucroute, a hearty, rustic dish of sausages, charcuterie, spices and fermented cabbage – otherwise known as sauerkraut – simmered in reisling wine. At Brasserie, the Choucroute Alsacienne is a sharing affair, comprising smoked pork shoulder and belly, smoked and Strasbourg sausages and steamed potatoes on a bed of sauerkraut.
The last word should be given to Alex Gaspar, Executive Chef at The Parisian Macao, who had several recommendations for his favourite dish. “There are many standout dishes, but my particular favourites are the Steak Tartare, Moules á la Crème, Steak Frites, Sole Meunière and, of course, our baked-to-order Soufflé.” Of course, no culinary tour of what is arguably the gastronomic capital of the world would be complete without mention of that final port of call, dessert, and Brasserie’s Soufflé aux Framboises serves as a fitting end to a magnifique meal.
Level 3, Shoppes at Parisian, The Parisian Macao, (853) 8111 9200