Vida Rica is the all-day dining restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, Macau.
Creative City of Gastronomy
Dishes made with duck meat from free range ducks raised on an environmentally friendly farm in Ireland will be served at Vida Rica, the all-day dining restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, Macau, from fromn 21 November to 22 December 2017.
The ducks are raised at Silver Hill Farm in Emyvale, Ireland, where they are fed a grain-based diet of wheat and soy. They are also serenaded with soft music in the slaughterhouse to make their muscles relax. This results in meat that is much more tender than conventional duck meat.
The ducks are an exclusive hybrid breed that marries Aylesbury ducks with Peking ducks. Considered to be Grade A poultry, they cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
The farm was founded in the early 1960s and started supplying high-end eateries in both Ireland and England.
“The Silver Hill Duck is recognized as setting the benchmark for flavour, quality, consistency and appearance," says Jarrod Seah, Director of The Chi Collective, the sole Asian distributor for Silver Hill Ducks.
"Its premium Head On Oven Ready Duck is used by 98% of the top Chinese restaurants in the UK and Europe. It is the perfect ingredient for premium restaurants like Vida Rica.”
Mandarin Oriental, Macau
Marco Pedrelli, the Director of Culinary and Food and Beverage of the Mandarin Oriental, Macau, is equally upbeat.
“At the Mandarin Oriental, Macau, we always pursue the best quality, and source for the finest ingredients to serve our guests," Marco says.
"That’s why we are thrilled to serve the world’s most acclaimed duck here at Vida Rica.”
The duck meat was introduced to the Singaporean market in 2016 and was greeted with acclaim by resident foodies and restaurant critics.
Enthusiasts of the Irish-bred ducks have equated their meat to that of Japan’s wagyu beef because of its marbling and its high price.
Vida Rica at The Mandarin Oriental, Macau, is the first restaurant in either Hong Kong or Macau to serve the duck meat from Silver Hill Farm.
Executive Sous Chef Ethan Hiew and Chef de Cuisine Matthias Knilling have teamed up to create a series of Silver Hill Duck dishes, which are being served at Vida Rica, which is Portuguese for "rich life".
Reflecting Macau's cross-cultural roots, Chef Matthias created dishes based on Western cooking styles while Chef Ethan created dishes using Chinese cooking techniques.
Included is Portuguese Style Duck Rice, a traditional Portuguese dish that includes orange zest. But I couldn't help but notice Chinese influences in the way it was interpreted by Chef Ethan.
Silver Hill Duck Degustation Menu
I was one of several food and travel bloggers and writers to sample a Silver Duck Degustation Menu at Vida Rica.
Amuse Bouche - first we were served a starter, (pictured above), which was not part of the degustation menu.
Apple Wood Smoked Duck – the first course was thinly sliced duck breast, pickled beet root, gorgonzola, roasted nuts, and cranberries, which was prepared and presented by Chef de Cuisine Matthias Knilling. It was served with Felton Road, Chardonnay, Bannock bum, USA, 2014.
Drunken Duck – next came sliced duck breast with sea cucumber, bamboo shoots, leek, coriander poached in superior broth with pepper and rice wine, which was prepared and presented by Executive Sous Chef Ethan Hiew, who poured the rich broth into each diner's soup bowl from a Chinese style teapot.
Portuguese Style Duck Rice – baked Silver Hill duck with Basmati rice, onion, garlic, thyme, coriander, and orange zest was served with Barone Ricasoli, Rocca Guicciarda Riserva Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy, 2014.
Wok Fried Duck Breast – next in line was wok-fried duck breast cooked with Maitake mushroom, chive, and garlic.
Roasted Duck –Silver Hill duck roasted Hong Kong style was prepared and presented by Executive Sous Chef Ethan Hiew. It was served with Clarendelle, Merlot blend, Bordeaux, inspired by Haut-Brion, France, 2011.
Slow Cooked Duck Confit – duck leg confit with braised radicchio, white onion puree, pickled onion, and orange jus was prepared and presented by Chef de Cuisine Matthias Knilling.
Profiterole - out dinner ended with hot chocolate sauce poured from a Chinese teapot over Tonka ice cream, profiterole, and chocolate jelly. I washed it down with a double espresso.
The Degustation Menu will be served from 21 November to 22 December 2017. Dishes can also be ordered a la carte.
If You Want to Spend the Night ...
The Mandarin Oriental, Macau, is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Macau Maritime Terminal, which offers jetfoil sailings to nearby cities in the Pearl River Delta.
The trip from Hong Kong takes about one hour, and there are sailings from Shun Tak Centre in Central on Hong Kong Island every 15 minutes - except during a very short time frame in the wee hours.
There are less frequent sailings from the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side. Because I live in the New Territories, I decided to try the relatively newly launched route from Tuen Mun.
Whichever route you take, it really IS possible to pop over for dinner and still get home at a civilized hour. Spending the night, however, is fare more fun - and a lot more relaxing.
We were served a choice of three snacks. I opted for the sandwich, which was actually a roll with a tub of minced meat and a packet of Oreos. I washed it down with a cup of coffee.
Upon arrival at the Macau Maritime Terminal, I was met by a greeter, who escorted me to the Mandarin Oriental, Macau, where I checked in.
After posing for a selfie in the hotel lobby of the Mandarin Oriental, Macau, I was escorted to my room.
My stylishly decorated room had a flat screen television on one wall and a work station along another wall.
Along the opposite wall, there were two arms chairs, a table with some welcome fruit and snacks, and a picture window with views of Nam Van Lakes.
My room had a king-sized bed.
The marble clad bathroom had a vanity with double sinks.
There was a separate shower and bathtub. When I saw the packet of bath salts, I couldn't resist. I rarely take baths, but I decided to make an exception. What really impressed me was how fast the bathtub filled with water.
I often complain about having no place to put my bags. No problem here! There was a spacious walk-in closet with a lengthy open-front wardrobe and a large ledge, which could easily accommodate two suitcases. There was also a lengthy clothes rack.
One of the advantages of spending the night at the hotel after dinner is you can have breakfast the next morning before returning to Hong Kong. I'll let the pictures do the talking ...
An all-day dining restaurant, Vida Rica Restaurant and Bar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During my stay at the hotel, I also enjoyed the breakfast buffet (pictured above).
I was one of several food and travel bloggers and writers from Hong Kong that were invited to try the degustation menu featuring duck meat from Silver Hill Farm at Vida Rica.
The invitation included round trip Super Class jetfoil tickets from Hong Kong, one night's accommodation at the hotel, and a buffet breakfast, which was also served at Vida Rica.
Vida Rica is one of three food and beverage outlets at the hotel. There is also a lobby lounge and a cake shop. The hotel also has a full service spa