Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong

In It To Wynn It- a day in Macau Part 1, Wing Lei

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I was surprised to receive a kind invitation from the Wynn Macau to spend a day touring the premises and more excitingly, to sample the food at two of their restaurants- the Michelin 2-star Wing Lei (awarded in the 2012 guide) and Mizumi (see here for the review). If it weren’t for this opportunity, I doubt I would actually think about dining at the Wynn, but I’m very glad and grateful for this invite as I hope that this encourages people to think about the Macau dining scene a little more!

It was on a beautiful day that I set off, and apart from the frustratingly long wait at Immigration, I was soon waltzing through the elegant doors of the Wynn and on my way to lunch at Wing Lei.

As with most of the resorts in Macau, what strikes one immediately is the sheer size of the structure and the grandiose manner in which everything is displayed. However, compared to the others I’d visited before, I felt the Wynn, whilst still luxurious, was more understated and intimate in its decor, which was appealing to me.

The Wynn Macau has some impressive restaurants under its belt including the Michelin-star Golden Flower (awarded in 2012) and the Italian, il Teatro, as well as several casual dining establishments to cater for all palates. I wanted to go to the Wynn without any expectations. Obviously, Wing Lei, being bestowed with 2 Michelin stars is quite the accolade, but in my mind a luxury Vegas-style resort with such a badge of honour, usually means a fair bit of moolah and food artfully arranged on a plate. So what was in store for me when I sat down for lunch?

Before anything else, I have to mention the eye-catching crystal flying dragon that’s dramatically displayed on the back wall of the main dining area. This centrepiece is certainly an arresting sight, made more impressive by the fact that it’s constructed out of 90,000 Swarovski crystals and tiny lights. If anything is going to detract attention away from the food, that would be it! After I finished gawking at it, I had my first sip of Wing Lei’s Signature Tea, a floral and delicate blend of flowers, fruits and tea leaves that, as the meal progressed, nicely cleansed the palate. (I was delighted when I was presented with a tin of their signature tea to take home, will be taking my time with this precious supply!).

The menu for lunch had been prearranged to highlight the best of Wing Lei’s dim sum as well as a couple of their signature dishes.

To start we had a pretty selection of appetisers: drunken shrimps, marinated eggplant with chilli vinegar and shredded barbecued duck, chilled sliced sea cucumber and cucumber with spicy sauce and smoked bean curd, mushrooms and sweetened carrot. The drunken shrimps were plump and meaty with a light infusion of alcohol and I especially enjoyed the marinated eggplant.

I was very much looking forward to the selection of Dim Sum, in particular to the baked barbecued pork bun that I have a weakness for which arrived on a simply presented plate with a  steamed shrimp and vegetable dumpling with in-house made XO chilli sauce, a deep-fried shrimp spring roll and steamed layered bean curd skin with soy bean milk.

The elongated deep-fried spring roll was delicious. I loved the wafer thin, cripsy  wrap and the shrimp mince enveloped inside. The steamed layered bean curd skin was excellent and so intricately layered that it was almost an art-piece rather than a morsel to be eaten. But the real showstopper was the fragrant baked barbecued pork bun with a sweetened crust. The crust was perfect- beautiful, fluffy and sweet (the crust immediately made me crave a whole plate of pineapple buns when I sunk my teeth in), which gave way to a tasty filling of barbecued pork, which was just on the right side of salty to complement the sweet.

The most astonishing part about Wing Lei was discovering that their lunchtime Dim Sum Tasting menu costs a mere 158MOP (equivalent value in HK), for a selection of 6 dim sums from a fairly extensive list. Considering this is a 2-star Michelin restaurant, I found this to be incredible value for such fantastic quality dim sum.

The next course was their signature Steamed cod fish roll with preserved tree seeds. The rolled cod was fleshy and well-prepared, the light broth giving it that added succulency and flavour. The tree seeds added a contrasting sourness which I liked.

The Crispy crab claw with fragrant garlic flakes was huge and meaty. Nothing beats a good sprinkling of fried garlic flakes. I’m always a bit fussy when it comes to fried garlic as I hate it when it becomes soggy but these were nice and dry and gave the crab claw that wonderful garlicky aroma. The fried crab meat with egg white that accompanied it was also good and tempered the salty crispiness of the claw.

I should add that service during the lunch was exemplary, and I don’t just say that because my visit was expected. I observed the service across the dining room and the staff were attentive throughout and just as detailed about the courses when serving the other diners. My tea was refilled constantly and everything was said with a warm smile which always makes a difference!

No meal is compete without dessert, no matter how stuffed one is. The dessert platter was gorgeous, both in presentation and in taste. I enthused with girly delight over the tiny, golden steam basket which I really wanted to take home! Anything deep-fried usually gets my attention anyway, but the deep-fried egg custard roll was honestly delicious, the filling was so smooth and flavourful. The osmanthus milk pudding was reminiscent of a panna cotta and was quite delicate on the palate. I was deeply impressed by the baked walnut puff which looked exactly like the real thig. I couldn’t fathom how they made it, I doubt I would have the patience to recreate that in the kitchen, so gold stars for effort! I was also interested in the seasonal fruit on my platter which was a slice of yellow dragon fruit from Columbia. I find dragon fruit usually so bland and this was the first time I’d encountered yellow dragon fruit (Piyahaya). I was taken aback by its juiciness and honey-like sweetness which acted as a fabulous refresher and cleanser to the end of the meal.

Wing Lei impressed me and I could definitely see why it was awarded 2 Michelin stars. I would highly recommend going there for dim sum if you are ever in Macau, because frankly, you won’t find such quality at such a steal.

$$-$$$$$$$$$$

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5

Wing Lei, G/F, Wynn Macau, Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE, Macau Te: +853 8986 3688

(Photos of the main entrance to the Wynn and the crystal dragon are courtesy of Wynn Macau)

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Author: chopstixfix

Michelle Ng is a Brit born Chinese-Malaysian who has loved food since time immemorial. She is a firm believer in "Live to Eat, not Eat to Live".

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