6 October 2013

Macau | Albergue 1601

When I arrived at Albergue 1601, a supposedly fine dining place, I thought I had got to the wrong place.

The place looked really old, as if time has forgotten it. Two big trees stood sturdily in the middle of the courtyard. The cobbled tiles leading to the restaurant were screaming to be scrubbed.

Located in the old Macau town, it was a drastic difference from the luxurious Cotai strip where the towering casinos glitter.

There was an alfresco dining section which would be lovely if only the weather was less hot.

There wasn't anyone standing at the door. So we walked into the restaurant myself. We were greeted by a wine collection. Hmm I thought wine should be kept under cool temperatures.

"Good afternoon..," a well dressed lady whom I assume is the manager greeted us. After confirming I had a reservation, she escorted us to the second floor via a stairway.

We were taken to a dining room which has 5 groups of tables. There was another dining room. The room had a window which ambient natural light entered from. We were seated in chairs which looked like mould was growing on it.

A bit of history of this place: It's named 婆仔屋 and it is more than a hundred years old. It served as a refuge camp for the Chinese during World War II and then an old women's home. Now, it's a heritage site under conservation.

The waitress recommended us their specialities once we sat down. We ordered their specialty dishes : seafood rice, cod fish balls and the lemon clams in white wine. 

To confess, I had no prior encounters with Macanese food so I didn't know what to expect. I did some Wikipedia-ing and found out that Macanese food is supposedly a form of fusion food between Chinese and Portuguese food as Macau is a former Portugal colony until late 1999.

Our first dish was the lemon clams. My mum loved the lemon clams (MOP 138, below). They were cooked in white wine to remove the fishy taste. There was a generous amount of clams and served. The clams were huge, juicy and tasted of the ocean. 4/5

The salted cod fish balls (MOP 64, below), is a common cuisine of the Macanese/Portuguese. In fact, there are at least 365 different ways to cook cod fish, one for every day. We guessed that the cod fish meat was mixed with mashed potatoes and deep-fried. Initially we thought it's fried mashed potatoes until I found fish bones in the cod fish ball. Crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. Although it's fried, it wasn't overly oily. 3.5/5

Seafood soup with rice (MOP 228) is also a Macanese specialty. The rice was soaked in a very light tomato soup. There was a generous amount of fresh crabs, squids, prawns, clams and mussels. The soup soaked the goodness of the seafood, and the rice soaked the essence of the soup! At first we thought the pot looked small but we kept scooping up the rice at the bottom of the pot and we were like, "Is this a bottomless pot?" Personally, I felt the pot was good for 3 people. 4.5/5

Service was one of casual elegance which puts us at ease even though it appears to be a fine dining establishment. Soft classical music was played. Our dining room had two other groups of people: a group of Caucasians and a group of young people whom we suspect are locals as they spoke Cantonese. When we left, we saw a couple taking wedding pictures outside. 

Overall, we were satisfied with our first encounter with Macanese food, especially when it's in a laid back and rustic environment. It's not really considered cheap but we thought it was value for money. Highly recommended if you are visiting Macau! 

8 Calcada da Igreja de S. Lazaro Ferreira de Almeida
瘋堂斜巷8號 婆仔屋
望德堂 社會保障基金對面

Email: reserve@albergue1601.com

1 comment:

  1. If you're looking for Macanese food you wouldn't find it in Albergue. All the dishes presented here are 100% authentic Portuguese food :)


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