A Good Mix
Local Chef Anthony Sousa Tam opens his newest venture Root
One of the nice things about dining in Macau is that you don’t necessarily have to go to the big hotels to find great dining experiences. A fine example of this is the recently opened Root restaurant, by Chef Anthony Sousa Tam. Located near the Cultural Center and behind the Grand Lapa Hotel, Root is Chef Anthony’s second venture in Macau, following the success of his Japanese restaurant Japas, which opened nearly two years ago to excellent reviews.
“Japas is more Asian style, while Root is more European,” Chef Anthony explains. “We really want to focus on more classical European dining, healthy food, seasonal ingredients, and a little bit tweaked with Portuguese influence”.
“Japas is a very set tapas style menu, but here at Root it is more of a traditional 3-course menu. At lunch we focus more on healthy food - salad, fish, vegetables and dessert – and we also have a lot of dessert wine, so we have a dessert bar in the evening where the dessert is paired with the dessert wine.”
Chef Anthony is Macanese but spent 18 years living and working as a chef in the UK. He then moved to Thailand, before returning to Macau two years ago.
“I think my Macanese heritage makes me more open. We mix a lot of things, there’s no limits, you can push the boundaries, you can do anything until you see the flavor and texture is right,” he notes.
One dish that exemplifies this is his Squid Pasta: “For this dish I wanted to give people the idea of comfort, like eating a wonton noodle soup. First I slow cook the squid then slice it very finely to look like noodles. I use real oysters and blend them to create a sort of mayonnaise, and maybe shave a bit of truffle over the top. Then we add the broth to make it very light, with lots of flowers and herbs, and then some salmon roe to give more texture.”
Chef Anthony’s Macanese heritage is also reflected in the décor of the restaurant, particularly on the ground floor, which uses lots of dark wood and even some stained glass windows.
“The downstairs design is inspired by my childhood home, in the northern district of Macau near the border”.
Upstairs has a more open, minimalist feel with white walls, a high ceiling and a large window overlooking the green tree tops across the street. At lunchtime on a nice day, the sunshine streams in giving a very light, relaxed feel, enhanced but the gentle aromas of lemongrass and mint.
In the future he hopes to use the expansive wall space to give exposure to local artists. And he is also planning to have his own hydroponic system in the restaurant to grow fresh herbs and vegetables.
“We’re trying to do something that’s completely different from other places, and put a bit more love and passion into the dishes.