OSO Ristorante, Bukit Pasoh Road

Today, Macau’s a thriving boom town.

Its status as the gaming capital of the world is well-known, but like Las Vegas, Macau has already hatched plans to diversify. With the help and approval of Beijing, Macau is seeking to develop itself into another Hong Kong by jointly developing Hengqin, a rectangular-sized plot of land west of the Special Administrative Region’s Coloane and Taipa islands, for commercial, industrial and residential use. Therefore, The Waterside’s launch, a luxury condominium development – surprisingly, the first of its kind in the city – located in the heart of Macau, comes at an opportune time. The apartments are hot property, and this is where first-mover advantage is beneficial – Macau simply doesn’t have enough land so luxury properties such as this so such developments won’t come by easily.

To pitch the project to Singaporeans, a hosted lunch was conducted at OSO Ristorante, which you might remember as one of the “stars” of this year’s Restaurant Week, being prominently featured on ad campaigns for the bi-annual event. Lunch was a simple, three-course meal and without further ado, let’s get it on.

For starters, I chose the slow cooked calamari served cold with marinated tomato, black olives and garlic croton. It was a light and refreshing beginning, and is one of those dishes that’s perfect when paired with wine. The calamari’s slow cooking revealed a tender-cooked squid whose usually chewy texture was non-existent. In my opinion, the garlic croton did little for the dish, as did the green scrape. The former was at times, difficult to bite, and lacked any amount of flavor while the green scrape on the side of the plate did little, even on the aesthetics.

For my main, I chose a deboned duck leg confit timbale with pumpkin and balsamic reduction. This dish is a showcase of skill, and it hit all the notes that it intended to hit – the duck confit went very well with the pumpkin, and the reduction really helped to seal those two contrasting flavors together. It however, wasn’t delicious. Despite the intense layering, it was overall very one-note, and couldn’t keep up my attention. With every bite, I searched for something new, some new flavor that I might have missed, but it’s the same from start to finish. To my defense, I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but for me, I found it unimpressive. It’s showy, but it doesn’t work.

For dessert, I went for a hot chocolate soup served with amaretti biscuits. Again, I find the same characteristics as the previous dishes. It’s good – the chocolate soup was superb, it had a depth so one could tell it was definitely not just melted chocolate, but it was just far too simple. I shouldn’t use that word. Instead, I’ll use the word “arrogant” or “lazy” even – I didn’t see any effort put into it. The chocolate smear, similar to my main, proved as much.

I’ve no choice but to echo the resounding food blogging community, and I only verified this just before typing this paragraph – good, but not great. I see sparks of brilliance, but I also see arrogance or slothfulness hindering me from seeing the whole eruption. I understand simple, and simple is understated, it’s a state of mind, and if the diner(s) are looking at their food in a curious way, and end up not finishing it, something’s not quite right, wouldn’t you agree?

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