Food | Classically French

toe-0118-1There is one restaurant in town that I visit very often when I feel like having classic French dishes such as beef tartare and baked lobster. Aux Beaux Arts, situated in MGM Macau’s Grande Praça, is an iconic eatery admired for its regional French cuisine. Paying tribute to the 1930’s French Brasserie, it celebrates art, culture and French cuisine in a warm and comfortable environment.
Under the direction of Chef Elie Khalife, the restaurant’s menu continues to include everlasting traditional favorites yet with an overall emphasis on seasonality, yet there is another element that I appreciate when I am dining at this venue; the exceptional wine list.
For the fourth consecutive year, the internationally acclaimed magazine Wine Spectator has awarded the bistro a “Grand Award,” the highest level of recognition under the “Restaurant Wine list Awards” category. Last year, only 81 restaurants around the world were awarded with the “Grand Award”. To qualify for this award, the wine collection must include a minimum of 1,000 selections from top producers, with outstanding depth in mature vintages and verticals.
Aux Beaux Arts currently have a collection of over 2,500 labels from around the world with a selection of wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, California and Portugal, and is constantly bringing in more prestigious labels as well as good value wine for guests.
Indeed, its comprehensive wine list and sophisticated menu pairing is impressive, but the bistro does not only cater to wine snobs. Mr. Stéphane Soret, Executive Director of Beverage of MGM Macau, makes it very clear that the restaurant has a collection of wine by the glass that offers superb quality with great value.
“Anyone who has been to Aux Beaux Arts knows that our wine list is like a dictionary. It is heavy and a bit intimidating, so what I have done is to select several labels of excellent quality and recommend them to our guests, so that anyone can enjoy a dining experience with wine,” he says.
Graduated in Nîmes, France, with a sommelier diploma, Stéphane Soret moved to London in 1989 for his first sommelier position at Ma Cuisine before heading to Paris, starting at Ledoyen and working his way upwards in hospitality while obtaining a hotel management degree at CMH-Paris, European Center of International Hotel Management. In 1994 Stéphane moved to the US, working for hotels and then becoming involved with the launch of Napa Valley’s and at Vigneron Imports. Following this he headed back to Paris for a sommelier role at Michelin-starred Le Cinq (George V) and managed the cellar of the Quai d’Orsay for the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. 2005 saw Stéphane’s return to London as head sommelier for Mosimann’s. Since then he has been working in the Middle and Far East, previously as wine director at Raffles in Singapore and has been a Decanter Asia Wine Awards judge since 2013.
Sharing his expertise with us, he suggests that we first try a glass of champagne at Aux Beaux Arts, the Brut Réserve by Billecart-Salmon of Mareuil-Sur-Aÿ with the baked main lobster Mornay with garden salad. His trick is to serve the champagne in a white wine glass so that the aroma can be fully enjoyed.
“The meaty lobster is oily and rich with flavors of the sea. That is why we need some structure and power to go with that. A blend of pinot noir, meunier, and chardonnay features weight, fruitiness, and elegance. You will find notes of peach, pear, and toast. It is a refreshing way to start a meal and matches beautifully with the lobster,” he explains.
A bottle of sauvignon blanc from the Château Lion Beaulieu in Bordeaux, France is coming next with a steamed John Dory fillet on braised shellfish ragout with dill, potato and mushroom. White Bordeaux wines are mostly blends of semillon and sauvignon blanc. Subtle, clean, and crisp, it is best appreciated with dishes that are lightly seasoned.
“This bottle is from the Entre-Deux-Mers, which means ‘land between two seas’ in English. It is an appellation for dry white wines located between the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, a large region producing steely, crisp sauvignon blanc wines that have some elements in common with Loire Valley wines, which differs from the richer oak-aged wines of the Graves,” he comments.
After spending several hours with him, there is no doubt that Stéphane is fond of subtle, elegant, yet affordable wines. As diners, we are privileged to have an expert to recommend exclusive labels for us. Sophisticated diners are rare after all, and through educating the average diner, Stéphane is spreading the art of appreciating wine, which is itself a part of French joie de vivre.


Categories Taste of Edesia