An Italian Buffet Feast at Sheraton Grand Macao
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find my weeks blending into each other, the same routine of work and nights out looking like one. If you’re stuck in a bit of a rut, why not try something different one weekend? And what could be more different than taking a break from the 852 and hopping over to another country?
I’m not saying you have to organise some complicated long weekend break to an exotic island (who wants to be in charge of buying tickets? No one) – but you can cross the border with minimal effort in under an hour. To… yep, you guessed it, Macau!
Now, I’m not a huge fan of Macau from past experiences. I hadn’t been for years, but what I remember of the casinos was that they felt a bit soul-less and I can’t say I’m a keen gambler (although of course there is more to the second SAR than casinos!). However, the thought of simply getting onto a ferry like I would if I was going to Lamma, zipping over to another country for a day and getting home by 8pm sounded like just the thing we needed to spice up our routine.
Getting these couldn’t be easier, especially when we live in Sheung Wan, right opposite the Macau Ferry Terminal. Booking tickets in advance is easy, just book online with Cotai Water Jet here or TurboJet here. Or you can pick one up from the ticketing offices (more info here). We were treated to first class tickets on Cotai Water Jet ($270 weekdays, $287 weekends, $317 night sailing), which gave us the luxury of enjoying spacious, comfortable seats upstairs and a free snack and drink. The ferry ride is only 60 -70 minutes to Taipa, so before you know it you’ll be arriving in Macau and getting ready to disembark.
After a fairly heavy night before, we were in serious need of some food. And a lot of it. Luckily, we had an Italian Sunday Brunch set up for us at the Sheraton Grand Macao‘s restaurant, Bene. There are so many dining offers in Macau, but the beauty of booking this one is that you can get a complimentary car service to pick you up straight from the ferry pier and take you directly to the hotel and back (valid for reservations of up to six people), plus a complimentary glass of welcome prosecco. Too easy!
Bene is slightly dark when you enter, and the decor is a bit outdated, but there is plenty of space and you certainly won’t feel crowded. We took a table at the back and we were genuinely surprised at the lack of people there on a Sunday! What Bene may lack slightly in atmosphere though, it makes up for with the food.
The antipasti buffet is full to the brim with delicious salads, cold cuts, a huge cheese selection and mountains of fresh seafood – I’m talking lobster, crab, prawns and oysters.
The salads were varied, and we gorged on generous helpings of the colourful Greek, mixed bean, seafood and cous cous, and pasta salad.
Outside is a small lounge area which makes you feel like you’re poolside, and there we found a chef firing up a barbecue, searing steaks and slicing pieces of charred meats. As if this wasn’t enough, we also each got to choose a main course to enjoy after the salads, seafood and BBQ (see the full menu here).
Luckily, the ‘mains’ are quite small, so we nibbled on a creamy carbonara. For dessert, we could help ourselves to a number of little sweet delicacies from the buffet, including ice-cream, sweets and pastries. Safe to say we were stuffed by the end of this Italian feast!
Sheraton Macao Grand’s Sunday Brunch at Bene was definitely great value for money, at only $458 per person. You get a huge amount of tasty food with tons of variety, and the add on free-flow drinks package is reasonable too. While the atmosphere is a little off, the friendly and helpful staff and delicious food make it worth checking out if you want to treat yourself to a filling brunch in a convenient location.
There are plenty of other delicious dining options in Macau; choose from sophisticated hotel restaurant’s like Robuchon au Dôme at the Grand Lisboa Macau, enjoy Hong Kong favourites like 8 1/2 Otto e mezzo Bombana, go Portuguese with Michelin star Antonio’s or laid-back classic Fernandos, hit up Maximal Concepts’ Food Court at Studio City or opt for street food (and don’t forget a Lord Stow Portuguese Dan Tart! My fave). Stay tuned for more Macau foodie recommendations, coming soon.
Sights and Shopping
We needed to walk off our extravagant brunch, so we took a stroll around some of the casinos, venturing through the Sheraton and Four Seasons and over to The Venetian. The over-the-top decor of the malls and casinos which included unusual exhibits, a Dreamworks parade of characters and of course the gondolas and fake canals at The Venetian provided us with plenty of entertainment and endless places to wonder around.
We also found that shopping was far less stressful as there seemed to be more space and less people than Hong Kong when we went. We may had ended up buying our whole summer wardrobes from Pull & Bear…
After our filling brunch and stroll around Taipa’s casinos and malls, we were ready head back home. It couldn’t have been easier with the complimentary limo service from the Sheraton back to the ferry terminal, and before we knew it we were on the way back to Hong Kong. Our day trip to Macau was easy to organise and the perfect way for us to spice up the weekend… I’ll be heading back soon, and next time I’ll be exploring different parts of the city beyond the casinos.
Read more about Different Things To Do In Macau here.
Bene, Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central Estrada do Istmo. s/n Macau, Macau, www.benemacao.com