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Dining Out 4 minutes 13 February 2020

5 MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau Restaurants With Notable Wine Lists

No dining experience or special occasion is complete without a curated wine list put together by talented sommeliers to match a restaurant's culinary prowess.

wine Hong Kong sommelier

There are few things more pleasurable in life than an excellent pairing of food and wine.

When correctly paired, wine can heighten flavours, textures and qualities in the food. For Anthony Mueller, former sommelier at three-MICHELIN-starred The French Laundry, a good food and wine pairing can elevate a regular meal into a "almost magical" dining experience.

“There is always potential for a food and wine pairing to create that transcendent experience sought after by chefs, sommeliers and anyone searching for culinary pleasure, the almost magical synergy achieved when the wine makes the food better and vice versa,” said Mueller, now a wine reviewer for Robert Parker Wine Advocate.

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While the highly coveted MICHELIN stars are handed out to restaurants based on the quality of their food, there's a lesser talked about icon in the MICHELIN Guide that oenophiles should pay attention to when selecting their next dining destination.

The Notable Wine List icon — denoted by a grape pictogram — are given out to restaurants that have an interesting selection of wines, across all categories of the guide, be the Plate restaurants, Bib Gourmand establishments or one, two or three-MICHELIN-starred venues. 

Here, we round up five MICHELIN-recommended restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau where you will find excellent wine lists put together by expert sommeliers.

RELATED: Anthony Mueller: Is Food & Wine Pairing Baloney?

1. Arbor
Two MICHELIN Stars, MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2020

MICHELIN inspectors were not just impressed by Finnish chef Eric Räty's sophisticated yet light cuisine that has earned the restaurant two MICHELIN stars in its second year of operations. According to them, the contemporary French restaurant's wine list also left a deep impression. The list is curated by Sebastien Allano, the restaurant's wine director and former head sommelier at the prestigious Four Seasons Hong Kong, and boasts a diverse collection of 1,700 bottles, ranging from labels produced by established producers to boundary-pushing winemakers. Allano takes pride in bringing the guests some rarest bottles from three of the major French wine regions, including bottles of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay from Champagne, Romanée Conti from Burgundy, and Petrus from Bordeaux. The wine cellar is not only functional but specially designed to fit in the restaurant's overall design theme: it is specially equipped with climate control systems and adorned with minimalist lines of solid oak and dramatic lighting. Guests can also explore the option of storing their prized wines at the establishment.

Arbor
Arbor

2. Tosca di Angelo
One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2020

The restaurant's Sicilian culinary director, Angelo Agliano, champions dishes that may look deceptively unfussy on the plate but their refinement and sophistication comes through as soon as they are savoured. His spaghetti Mancini is a must-try, while his modern take on the classic Italian tiramisu would make nonna proud. To elevate the experience, check out the wine list, which comprises mostly Italian labels with a top-notch by-the-glass selection. A sommelier favourite is the 2016 Pinot Grigio, Dessimis, Vie di Romans for its rareness on the market. The list also features a collection of bio-dynamic, organic, and natural wines. This genre of wine is produced with environmentally friendly methods, a welcome option by an increasing number of diners who care about sustainability, according to the restaurant. For champagne lovers, the best time to visit is on weekends, when the restaurant offers a free flow of champagne from premium labels like Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, and Louis Roederer at its champagne lunch. Clink your glasses in the airy dining room on the 102nd floor of the The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, where its high ceilings offer diners commanding views of the Hong Kong cityscape.

Tosca di Angelo
Tosca di Angelo

3. Mandarin Grill + Bar
One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2020

While you're choosing between the restaurant's signature pan-roasted turbot or the Beef Wellington, do not forget to ask for the wine list — the staff will hand you, with pride, a 41-page tome that offer the gamut of wine-making styles and grape varietals, from champagne to red wine, white wine, Kosher wine, sweet wine, Japanese sake and more. Not to be missed is the "wine to go" section offering great deals on premium wines that have been "orphaned" during the restaurant's regular process of updating its wine list and cleaning out its cellar. The wines listed in the section are available for diners to enjoy at up to 50 per cent reduction from the wine's former list price. On the current list, the treasures include 1990 Veuve Clicquot, Ponsardin "La Grande Dame" Brut, Champagne, France, and 2007 Barolo, La Villa, Fontanafredda, Piedmont, Italy. The restaurant's sophisticated and stylish interior, designed by Sir Terence Conran, includes a glass-fronted kitchen so you can sit back to watch the kitchen action between sips.

Mandarin Grill + Bar
Mandarin Grill + Bar

4. Pearl Dragon
One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2020

Over in Macau, Pearl Dragon has a wine list that is just as noteworthy as its elegant takes on Cantonese cuisine. The selection focusses on Chinese wines and spirits, and includes premium selections of Hua Diao, a type of yellow wine made from glutinous rice and wheat; Wuliangye, a white wine made with five types of grain including wheat, rice, corn, sorghum and glutinous rice; and Dong Jiu, a black rice wine made in a similar method to Maotai, the national liquor of China. Among its prized offerings are bottles of aged Kwei Chow Maotai marked with an iconic iron cap. Produced between 1987 to 1990, they can cost HKD$110,000 per bottle. Guests can also enjoy National Salute, a limited edition traditional liquor from the brand National Pits 1573, which was produced in celebration of China's 60th National Day. Apart from wine, the restaurant also offers a choice of over 50 premium teas to pair with its signature dishes such as lychee wood-barbecued meats, stir-fried Brittany lobster with mushroom and lily bulbs, and classic sweet and sour pork.

Pearl Dragon
Pearl Dragon

5. The Steak House winebar + grill
MICHELIN Plate, MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2020

Our MICHELIN inspectors have called the Steak House winebar + grill "one of the most sophisticated grill rooms in town" for its colourful wine bar and an impressive wine list that is just as attractive. The list showcases over 450 labels and 4,300 bottles, the most eye-catching column has to be the "large bottle" selection, which is named "the largest selection of the largest bottles in Hong Kong" — a feature that plays on the "oversized" concept of an American steakhouse. The selection includes 31 large bottles in sizes ranging from magnum (1.5 litres), double magnum (3 litres) to a nebuchadnezzar (15 litres) bottle of the 1999 Valduero, Gran Reserva, Ribera del Duero, Spain; the latter a worthy match to the whopping 32oz Australian Wagyu tomahawk available on the restaurant's a la carte menu. The bottle is so big that it has to be delivered to the dinner table on a trolley.

The rest of the wines are mostly from the US, including a large number of top Californian wines and a section exclusively dedicated to American Cabernet Sauvignon. The bottles listed here are specially sourced from around the country by the restaurant's sommelier, and a notable option among them is the 2016 Artemis, Stag Leap's District, Napa Valley from Stag Leap's Wine Cellar, a cellar became internationally famous after its 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon ranked first in a blind tasting at The Judgement of Paris in 1976. The ingredients used here are as praiseworthy. In particular, the beef sourced from Australia, the US and Japan are supplemented by a great seafood selection. You even get to choose your steak knife from 10 different knife models. Service is professional but also has personality.

The Steak House winebar + grill
The Steak House winebar + grill

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