The unassuming stain glass doors slide open like an unmarked passageway—the quirky décor can at first seem perplexing. The doors and wooden walls with hanging hats are all Head Chef Anthony Sousa Tam’s vision of nostalgia, representing aspects of his life from his childhood in Macau to his voyage to live and work overseas.
Despite the reminiscence of the past, the menu is a sophisticated display of contemporary culinary artistry, an innovative mix of Asian and European influence presented most uniquely. From entrees adorned with foliage to chocolate boxes made of tree bark, the seasonal menu and presentation work in concert on the senses.
With their own vegetable garden in Macau, Root tries to grow lots of their own ingredients, emphasizing the benefits of organic, healthy nutrition. As such, the menu changes seasonally, offering the freshest and most wholesome ingredients. There are only two set menus of eight courses to choose between (MOP 580 or MOP 880), each dish of which is mastered to perfection.
The highlight of Root is most definitely seafood. Starters of potato foam with salted cod and avocado salmon in raptor crisps with black squid and mains of oysters or clams are personal favorites. The latter is served in a natural wooden bark bowl topped with a rice sheet sprinkled with green salt and chrysanthemum. Like a culinary present delicately wrapped for you to rip open with your fork, upon a satisfying crack through the sheet you find the clams with dehydrated tomato covered in a rich hollandaise sauce. Hearty in flavor and warmth, this dish has all the pleasantness of traditional cooking with the added edge of contemporary presentation.
From the current winter menu, the scallop carpaccio is the most satisfying starter. Presented on a bed of cucumber with Root’s own grown mustard cress it is sweet with a hint of acidic zest that leaves you craving more.
For an even more decadent choice, the abalone and clams with seaweed rice (delivered in an industrial style mini brass pan with a hint of truffle) is a bitter pleasure to the pallet.
Sashimi textures taken from across the East China Sea reference the Japanese teacher Sousa Tam worked under during his time in Europe. A fusion between East and West, this style is sure to feature in any season’s menu come rain or shine, confident in its success due to sister restaurant Japas. Currently on offer—a flavorful slow-cooked horse mackerel or an exquisite wild Japanese salmon. Served with fermented oil and potato froth, the salmon is more subtle in flavor and lighter in texture.
If the previous five courses aren’t enough to satisfy your appetite, dessert follows in the form of three courses—a pre-dessert, a main event, and a “sweet box” to finish. Whether the rich flavor of the chocolate texture desert screams at you with sinful bliss, or the thick, frozen, passion fruit cream calls to smother your pallet, the Root menu does not fail to deliver an indulgently spectacular finale.
Root offers a memorable dining experience as the point at which two sets of opposites meet—East and West, but also old and new. The nostalgic decor, ever attentive waitstaff, and homegrown vegetables create that warm fuzzy feeling of coming home which is so often left wanting in contemporary dining, while the inventive menu remains uncompromising in sophistication. Being both authentic and creative, Root is establishing itself as a true modern classic.