Monday, 8 December 2008

A Petisqueira

15 Rue S Joao, Taipa, Macau
Visited 7th December 2008

Sunday lunch in Macau and we stumbled, limped and dragged ourselves into A Petisqueira to celebrate good performances in the Macau Marathon. Hidden down a winding lane in Taipa Village, this place would be pretty hard to find if it wasn't for bright blue and yellow outer walls. Its location gives it an authentic ambiance, as do the checked table clothes, wood beams and white washed walls.

The menu is everything you'd expect in a traditional Macanese Portuguese restaurant. There're all the favourites - bacalhau, seafood, grilled chicken and plenty of meat - plus a good selection of daily specials. We shared cod cakes and a generous serve of cheese, ham and sausage to start. While the fish cakes were good I was blown over by the quality of the charcuterie; the salty cheese was beautifully crumbly, the grilled chouriço rich and meaty and the ham a divine merging of silky and smoky goodness. For a main I ordered the boar loin off the specials board and wasn't disappointed. The huge chunks of meat were rich, but amazingly tender, they came simply served with potatoes, steamed vegetables and a wedge of lemon. The complimentary bread rolls were crisp and airy while the green salad the table shared was excellent. The serves were all massive so I managed to try the others dishes and was equally impressed with the chunky lamb chops, well flavoured spicy prawns, char-grilled chicken and an awesome paella that was packed with top quality seafood. To drink I had a couple of Super Bok's before enjoying the bottles of wine we shared. Oh yeah and dessert; we were all stuffed by this stage so we rather frugally shared a serve of chocolate mousse and egg pudding between eight of us. Both were outstanding; the mousse was unbelievably rich, though not overly sweet, while the pudding was deliciously silky smooth.

Though it's doesn't offer fancy cuisine or frilly stylish atmosphere what A Petisqueira does, it does superbly. The big serves of hearty food are well cooked, use top-notch ingredients and are excellent value. Our bill came to a very fair MOP225 a head, which included entrees, mains, booze and a hint of dessert. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and more than happy to help by making recommendations. I've just noticed A Petisqueira is one of the few restaurants not in a casino to get a mention in the Michelin Guide to Hong Kong & Macau 2009. I'd have to agree as it takes the hat as the best Portuguese restaurant I've been to in Macau. A Petisqueira really is the type of place I love; a relaxed, friendly environment serving top quality, honest food.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

About a month ago, I went to eat in A Petisqueira for the first time.

The surroundings were clean and comfortable, albeit there was a stench of cigarette smoke: a couple of the waiting staff threw their cigarettes out of the main door on to the street as I arrived. Yes, I know smoking is still allowed in many restaurants in Macao, but first impressions mean a lot.

The daily special menu looked good and I ordered from it, but after a few minutes the waitress came back and said that what I had ordered was not available. I ordered something else from the special menu: that wasn't available either.

So I switched to the main menu and ordered lamb chops, and was told that they would be accompanied by vegetable and chips. The wine I ordered from the menu wasn't available, so I decided on the house red.

The food arrived and it looked as if it had all been deep-fried together: the lamb chops crispy and extremely well-cooked, the chips were absolutely soggy with fat, and a single floret of broccoli seemed to have been dumped on the plate as an afterthought. Good solid food, but not quite the quality that I had expected from a restaurant which had just received a mention in the Michelin Guide to Hong Kong & Macau 2009.

The house wine was okay.

Then I asked for dessert: there wasn't really any choice. Oh, there was fruit in syrup, or cheese. I opted for the cheese and had some port with that. The cheese was nice, the port was okay; a wider choice of dessert would have been welcome (I do not consider cheese to be a dessert).

Service was good and properly attentive throughout, but some of the serving staff seemed a little inexperienced and unsure. Two of them displayed an unfortunate tendency to explore their ears and nostrils with their fingers, which later strayed towards their mouths.

I spoke with one of the partners (who seemed to have arrived while I was eating) about my impressions of the food and service. He told me that the staff were new, that the staff had omitted to give the the correct menu for the daily specials, that the chips were soggy, and the lamb was crispy and well cooked because that was the restaurant style. The same reason was given as to why only one floret of broccoli was provided.

One more point: the weather was quite warm and I had asked for the air conditioning to be made colder. Instead the waitress turned on a ceiling fan which initially provided sufficient extra cooling, but which began to make such strange noises that another member of staff rushed to turn it off. I remained rather warm throughout the meal.

I returned a few weeks later. The place was again clean and welcoming, and this time no cigarette spoke was noticeable. The daily special menu was all there, but I still had to opt for the house wine. The previously noted tendency about fingers and facial orifices was not noted, but there was still no real choice of dessert. The weather was cooler, so I didn't particularly notice the fan.

I wonder if the establishment had changed hands sometime after the visit of the Michelin Guide inspectors? Certainly standards I saw on the two occasions I visited did not seem worthy of any special mention anywhere, let alone one in the Michelin Guide to Hong Kong & Macau 2009.

Take care.