A year after closing his flagship Restaurant André, the legendary Taiwanese chef makes a comeback next week with the opening of a new restaurant in Macao. Here’s what to expect from Sichuan Moon at Wynn Palace.
A genre of Chinese cookery notoriously challenging to pair with wine and, for some, even intimidating to eat, Sichuan cuisine is best known for its mouth-numbing heat – soups, stews and even sweets spiked with mountains of Sichuan peppercorns; the small dried husks casting an addictive floral edge over any dish.
And Taiwan-born André Chiang – the chef behind Raw in Taipei and Singapore’s now-shuttered Restaurant André (which, at its peak, placed No.2 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants) – understands this. As culinary director of Sichuan Moon, which replaces Andrea’s this month within Macao’s sleek Wynn Palace hotel, he is taming the heat for a global audience via an elaborate Sichuan tasting menu.
Sichuan Moon's dining room
The Dining Room
Beyond a carved, golden leather door sits Sichuan Moon, encompassing 104 seats divided between a 48-seat dining room, six private and semi-private rooms which together offer an additional 48 seats, and an eight-seat tea lounge.
With its palette of gold tones, the dining room glows thanks in part to a dazzling central chandelier built from hundreds of Italian Murano blue and amber glass butterflies. Lauded New York-based design firm Rockwell Group helmed creatives here alongside Wynn’s in-house team design and development team. The opulent dining room enhances Chiang’s inspired take on Sichuan cuisine, elevating the regional Chinese dining genre to new heights.
The tasting menu
Though Sichuan food is infrequently associated with fine dining, Chiang has devised a 20-plus course tasting menu for only 20 diners per evening (an à la carte menu may follow in the future) that honours the cuisine’s depth of flavour and fiery spirit, with a sophisticated and artful edge.
Guests begin their tour through southwestern China via 88 Fortune Treasures, a vibrant red-stained display of eight cold dishes that represent Sichuan’s range of flavours, from marinated duck tongues to spicy cabbage rolls.
Throughout the menu Chiang has peppered in his own twists on Sichuan favourites, like a play on dan-dan noodles in which he swaps in tea-smoked duck breast, duck skin, chicken skin and minced pork for beef, serving the mixture in a double-boiled chicken broth. Meanwhile, Chiang’s multi-textured mapo tofu calls for a blend of four types of bean curd – tender tofu, hard tofu, black tofu and a version made from Japanese egg.
East Meets West
In addition to playing with Sichuan favourites, Chiang is likewise leaning on his French training, building signature dishes that present the evocative peppercorn with new supporting characters. One such dish is Chiang’s peppercorn-flavoured duck foie gras and mushrooms royale. The chef blends the foie gras with eggs and cream, then steams the mixture, add the elusive Yunnan mushroom sarcodon aspratus, then finishes the dish with a veil of Sichuan pepper jelly.
Playing a key role in Chinese cuisine, the tea ceremony takes centre stage at Sichuan Moon, hence Chiang’s decision to offer a small lounge dedicated to steeped leaves. Here, patrons will encounter an abundance of rare Chinese teas – like vintage pu erh from 1960, and Pipachá, an oolong aged for six months in Niepoort port wine pipes – from Sichuan and beyond. Tea masters brew the leaves in glacier water from Sichuan’s Gongga mountains over small hearths fueled by olive pit charcoal.
Header images: Peppercorn-flavoured duck foie gras from Sichuan Moon; André Chiang
Go inside Restaurant André for a final tour with André Chiang before it closed in 2018:
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