We all love Lan Kwai Fong for its treasure trove of eateries and party places but if all you have ever explored are its ground level restaurants and bars then you have only seen one dimension of Hong Kong’s favourite party district. The next time you are there, we insist that you take things up a notch and make a date for a meal and drinks at one of the loveliest Sky Bars and Restaurants that we recently discovered. This is Ce La Vi, located on the 25th floor of LKF’s California Tower.
Remember that bar in Singapore – the one at Marina Bay Sands with fabulous jaw -dropping view (once known as Ku De Ta, recently rebranded as Ce La Vi in June 2015). The Ce La Vi we are talking about in Hong Kong is it’s little ‘sister’. Opened in July 2015 with a stunning restaurant, bar and alfresco party lounge, it boasts good eats, drinks and sweeping views. The same group who own the Singapore stunner also have a similar concept venue in Bangkok (opened 2013).
The owners share that the idea behind each of these hedonistic venues is to create drama and inspirational moments from experiencing their cuisine and the mixology that comprises their drinks, music and spectacular surroundings.
With a girlfriend in town to visit, I decided to show her a bird’s eye view of the city and at the same time pop by for lunch, as we had heard that their Chef was launching new menu items. Their Executive Chef Kun Young Pak is Korean-American and he has worked with well-established restaurants such as the London and Nobu. His deep passion for Japanese, Korean and Modern Asian cuisine comes across in his new lunch and dinner menus.
There were two offerings for Lunch – a Standard Lunch Set (HK$178 onwards) which is basically served bento box style with rice; chawanmushi (a traditional Japanese custard); sunomono (a cucumber salad, green salad) and miso soup served alongside a choice of main courses from Pork Belly Skewers to Assorted Sashimi, Organic Chicken, Tempura and different Rice Bowls.
If you want a wider selection of plated choices, the Executive Lunch Set (HK$298) comes with a starter, main course and a side dish to indulge in, along with a green salad, chawanmushi, miso soup and edamame. We opted for two of these.
We shared two Starters – the Creamy Prawns in Gochujiang sauce and chives (HK$118) which was very rich and quite salty and heavy on the palette and the unique sushi-style Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, Jalapeño and Nikiri Soy ($148) which was a single sushi serve size – good for one perfect mouthful.
For Mains, we were somehow in the mood for fish rather than meat that day and so we ordered the Miso Black Cod, an Alaskan Black Cod with saikyo miso and the Salmon Ssamjang, a Norweigan Salmon marinated with Ssamjang sauce served with white kimchi, a nice combination and both fish dishes were excellent.
We had an option of side dishes to choose from and we opted for the Baby Corn baked and sprinkled with aged Manchego cheese and dried miso and a Mushroom dish prepared with Tofu and Chilli.
Don’t be fooled by the small servings in each course. By the time we were done with these and the sides, we were too full for dessert which although extremely inviting, was not part of the Lunch Set. But if you love your sweets then you should not leave without trying the Matcha Green Tea Tart, the Chocolate Bar and the White Chocolate Sake Cream with yuzu scented fruits and salted toffee.
If you want to drop by for some nibbles at twilight and enjoy drinks, the great view from the Sky Bar whilst waiting for the sun to set, there is a selection of Small Plates and Tempuras on the menu. The Pumpkin Tempura (HK$88) comes highly recommended. Served with a Yuzu Kosho sauce, Green Chilli Dip and Rocoto, it is crispy and delicious with a glass of white. For skewer lovers, there is Chicken Scallion, Pork Belly, the USDA Prime Rib and the Tsukune Chicken.
If you are there for Dinner, the Chef personally recommends the Omhi Beef. Imported from Shiga Prefecture in Japan, the Omhi Beef is served along Maitake mushroom and tokio negi, grilled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Chef Pak has personally visited the farm and the warehouse where they butcher this special Omhi beef. There is also a new Dinner Tasting Menu with favourites like Tuna Tataki consisting of caramelised shallots, wakame, maitake and tosazu; Hokkaido Scallops Salad including scallop, baby spinach, caramelized beets topped with Manchego cheese and main dishes such as the 300 Days Grain Fed Rangers Valley Strip Loin, drizzled with assorted sauces and Maldon salt.
Ce La Vi is on the 25th Floor, California Tower at 32 D’Aguilar Street, Central. Reservations at +852 3700-2300