Thursday, September 17, 2015

CÉ LA VI (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

I've never had much luck with new restaurants during their opening week so when CÉ LA VI first announced their opening a number of weeks ago, I decided not to jump the gun and just wait things out.

Now it's been almost a month. Perhaps the timing is right to pay them a much anticipated visit but first, of course I had to check out their rooftop sky bar and famous jacuzzi. Well, it's not quite the 150-metre infinity pool in Singapore but it was totally worth a visit.

As soon as the clock hit 6 o'clock sharp, we swing downstairs to the dining room coz you know what, we were really starving. They have a real cozy dining room here. The place is overflowing with Asian design influences highlighted by the excessive use of wood.

A little mocktail called Mangococo to cool myself off before our food arrives.

CÉ LA VI's food menu features a wide selection of modern Asian dishes with Japanese twist. We decided to kick things off with something from the sushi bar. This is a very nicely executed shrimp tempura roll ($105) with prawn, avocado and spicy mayo. Very nice (5.5/10).

This is no yakitori place but they do have a small selection of skewers available. I went with their pork belly skewers ($100) and it was a little depressing.

They got a very interesting and unconventional pork belly skewer here. It tasted somewhat like a mille feuille of pork with multiple layers of meat stacking up together and it was sandwiched between some sliced pineapple. Each piece of meat was wrapped around by a beefsteak leaf (紫蘇葉) and lightly marinated with mustard.

But I've never had such bland Japanese skewers before. There was no hint of salt and the texture certainly didn't offer any sign of it being grilled at all (felt more like it's been slow-cooked). Very disappointing (3.5/10).


I thought they turned things up a notch with our main dishes starting with our salmon dish ($230). This was a very lovely dish with the salmon sous vide first and then slightly grilled giving it a nice smoky flavor. Love the morning glory dashi broth and seaweed on the bottom providing the dish an exciting blend of flavors and textural contrast (6/10). 

But I like the tiger prawns ($230) even more. It was nicely prepared with a creamy white dashi  foam on top. Underneath the prawns was a Satsumaimo taro mash with candied chorizo. An excellent mix of sweet and savory (6.5/10).

We had an order of the pork fried rice ($90) to go with our main dishes. The rice had pretty strong flavors from the onion and garlic like a typical teppanyaki fried rice and the portion was generous as well (2-person portion at least!). Not bad (5/10).

We were pretty stuffed by now but couldn't resist the sweet temptation as always. First up for us was a complimentary dessert from the kitchen that changes every night. Tonight, they had a light Thai milk tea mousse with toffee, sponge cake and some crispy crackers. That was a lot of fun (7/10).

Equally impressive was the restaurant's signature dessert - Matcha ($118) with a molten green tea tart, 64% valrhona manjari ice-cream and chocolate crumbs that sent us home on a high note (7/10).

We decided to check out their outdoor terrace after dinner and what an excellent night view they had here!

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$
Address: 25/F California Tower, 32 D'Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central
Tel: +852 3700-2300

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