It’s no secret that Vida Rica at the Mandarin Oriental Macau is one of the best places to imbibe in Macau; they bagged top spot in the competitive Bar of the Year (Hotel) category at The Bar Awards Hong Kong & Macau 2019 and the establishment’s Head Mixologist Jacob Shteyntsayg walked away with the Bartender of the Year – Macau trophy. That’s not all, the chic hotel bar also came in the first runner-up for Hospitality Team of the Year in the city.
Located on the second floor overlooking Nam Van Lake, Vida Rica sports an impressive view of Macau’s evening skyline. The interiors – like the rest of the hotel – feature a sleek marble, crystal, and chrome design, making for a prime setting for sophisticated sundowners or a nightcap.
Cocktails inspired by movies may not be entirely new, but for 11 Macanese art house full-length features and short films to each be represented by a handcrafted tipple at a hotel bar requires quite some effort. The movie journey started for the Vida Rica team when they collectively spotted a local screening of “Gin, Sake, Margarita” by Macanese filmmaker Peeko Wong at Cinematheque • Passion. Through this boutique cinema near the ruins of St. Paul’s and other connections, they managed to link up with 11 directors to bring their work to life on the palate. Plus, guests who are interested to know more can watch the trailers by simply scanning the respective QR codes on their smart devices.
For a refreshing start, you can’t go wrong with the highly popular The Lighthouse (MOP118), also a poignant 2D-animated short by Jay Lei. Combining pineapple kombucha with green tea syrup, coconut soda, and rum, it’s well-rounded and easy-drinking though we would have liked more of a sour tang from the kombucha. It’s one of the three drinks of eleven that can be enjoyed alcohol free at MOP80.
Love a bittersweet profile? The use of pandan-infused gin, raspberry amaro, plum liqueur, and dry vermouth makes The Age of Hangover (MOP128) a lighter and more accessible take on the classic three-part Negroni. Garnished with rosemary, it doesn’t necessarily lose out on the complexity and certainly finds a connection with Mike Ao Ieong Weng Fong’s coming of age film.
Sisterhood (MOP138) will satisfy guests with a yen for a smoky tipple. Bourbon and mezcal is shaken with golden pineapple and aloe vera for a sweet and sour finish, while a garnish of Sichuan pepper corns keep things lively on the nose. Who knows? You might even feel like going for a second (hotpot) dinner after this.
If you’d like to follow up with something punchier after, try one of their barrel aged classics concocted with legendary cinema in mind. The wine cask that Indemnity Punch (MOP108) was aged in enhanced the flavour of the rooibos tea brandy amidst other ingredients such as dark rum, peach liqueur, and bitters. On the other hand, the Lebowski Martini (MOP108) is worth trying for anyone who enjoys an espresso martini or a white Russian. Coffee vermouth, vodka, cacao vanilla liqueur is finished in a mezcal cask, and topped off with hazelnut foam for a more textured tipple.
If you’re there for Happy Hour (available 5-8pm daily), the cocktail menu for the golden hour is themed along fables and creatures of the sea. All cocktails on this list are MOP98, including my excellent aperitivo Turtle, whose bright pink hue belies its lovely balance with a sweet start from sake, a bubbly mid palate from champagne, and the sherry dry finish. They come with nibbles too – think shrimp cake with wasabi mayo in yuzu soy, and a caviar-topped smoked salmon parcel that’s stuffed with crab and pomelo.
The food menu is large enough to cater to most cravings and fancies. We were in the mood for cheese and meat, and the savoury Iberico Black Pork Dry Cured Ham Leg 36 Months (MOP65, 50g) and sharp yet creamy Queijo Sao Jorge “Island” Cheese (MOP38, 50g) suited us well. The latter is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese produced on the island of São Jorge, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. If you’re up for a full meal, there are burgers, tacos, garlic shrimp, and even Chinese-style barbecue pork buns up for grabs.
Address: 2/F, Mandarin Oriental Macau, N.945 Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen, Macao, China Phone: +853 8805 8928 Website: https://www.mandarinoriental.com/macau/one-central/fine-dining/bars/vida-rica-bar Opening hours: Mon-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 3pm-1am, Sun 3pm-12am
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