Address: 38/F, Hotel Panorama by Rhombus, 8A Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui尖沙咀赫德道8A隆堡麗景酒店38樓
Telephone: 3550 0262
I have a very special relationship with French food, in the sense that I just can’t stop eating it. Therefore, I believe it is my duty to remind my lovely readers that we are now approaching the month of “Le French May“, an annual festival in Hong Kong and Macau that promotes French art and culture. Many restaurants will feature a special “Le French May” menu, and I was invited to have a preview of AVA Restaurant Slash Bar‘s “Le French May – Amazing Bourgogne” set dinner.
AVA Restaurant Slash Bar is the sister restaurant of Azure, which I have reviewed before (see here). Dining at AVA is an opulent experience which begins even before you step foot into the restaurant – a glass bullet elevator takes you to the 38th floor of Hotel Panorama by Rhombus in Tsim Sha Tsui, showcasing a panoramic view of Hong Kong island’s breathtaking skylines. The restaurant serves modern European cuisine, and also boasts a selection of signature cocktails.
The decor of the restaurant is simplistic and elegant, and is predominantly in tones of cream and white. The main dining area can accommodate around 100 diners, and there is a private VIP room that can accommodate 10 to 12 people. We were seated at a table in the corner, which I was told was the perfect spot to watch fireworks – looking out at the unobstructed harbour view, I could totally imagine why it would be so!
Having enjoyed our visual feast, we started our actual meal with some housemade bread, served with a tricolour butter of garlic, sundried tomatoes and herbs, which is also served at Azure.
Each of us ordered a glass of AVA-tini ($118), AVA’s signature martini. Made with Absolut mandarin, belvedere raspberry and malibu, shaken with orange juice and cranberry juice and stirred-chilled with LN2, this cocktail was ceremonially brought to our table with smoke coming out of it. The mandarin flavour was perceptible, and gave the drink an attractively refreshing and fruity note.
(1) The “Le French May” menu is a 4-course menu which costs $468, and our appetiser was a Flan of Asparagus on Saute Oyster. Chef Massimo Santovito is an Italian chef who recently joined AVA in February 2013. Having worked at several fine-dining restaurants and graduated with a Diploma in Food Preparation & Hospitality Academy in Italy along with an Associate Degree in Nutritional Science at Cambridge University, Chef Massimo is a very knowledgeable man. He warmly greeted us and told us that it was now the right season for asparagus, therefore the asparagus in our dish would be full of flavours. The oyster was juicely and intensely flavoured, and the flan of asparagus was creamy and enticing.
(2) Our next course was the Frog Legs & Mushroom Forest. Some of my friends get a bit scared when I talk about how much I adore eating frog legs – it sounds scary, I know, but the meat is often lean and tasty! These frog legs were beautifully fried on the surface while still tender on the inside, and had a lovely buttery taste. I also enjoyed eating the chopped mushrooms.
(3) For the main course, you will get a choice of Coq Au Vin (Rooster gently cooked in Chablis sauce, with potato gateaux and baby vegetable bundle) or an Eggplant Trout Filet with Creamy Potato Rosette & Tomato Compote, and we chose the Trout Filet. The size of the filet was very generous and the fish was tender, but do watch out for the bones!
(4) You could also pair French wine with the dinner menu, at $48 per glass or at $248 per bottle. There were three white wines to choose from: Petit Chablis, Chablis and Chablis Premier Cru Mont-Marins. We tried the third one, and it was a refreshing wine with floral and fruity notes.
(5) The dessert on the menu was a Mixed Berries Charlotte. The mixed berries charlotte was creamy and icy, and the delectable flavours of fresh berries were outstanding. We also liked the vanilla cream on the side.
(6) I have heard my friends rave about the Liquid Nitrogen Rose Petal Ice-cream ($156) at AVA, and it was finally my turn to try it! It was not on the May menu, so we ordered it separately. (The restaurant was quite dark at this point as it was slowly turning into a club with the DJ due to arrive shortly.) The tableside demonstration involved a chef mixing milk, cream, rose water and sugar into a wooden bowl and then pouring liquid nitrogen at 160C into the bowl, stirring rigorously the whole time. He then transferred the ice cream into a shortbread tart and poured some raspberry compote over it.
A fresh rose was dipped in liquid nitrogen, and the brittle rose petals were then sprinkled over the ice cream. The roses at AVA are specially ordered so they are pesticide-free and are safe to eat.
This long-awaited dessert finally arrived at our table, and it was love at first bite…The ice cream had a strong, sensuous rose flavour (I adore anything that tastes and smells of roses), and the ice cream was butter-smooth and melted instantly in the mouth. The shortbread tart was also crispy and delicious. Most importantly, isn’t this striking dessert simply a symbol of love? A couple on another table were having a romantic moment savouring this wondrous dessert, and I was also deep in thoughts…at that moment, my friend K said, “I’ll probably come back here and order this myself because it tastes so good! But I won’t bring a girl here…it’s not me to do these superficial things.” And that brought me straight back to reality.
Conclusion: Given the breathtaking view, the elegant setting and the mouthwatering food, the “Le French May” menu at $468 is very reasonably priced. Also, do order the Liquid Nitrogen Rose Petal Ice Cream if you haven’t tried it – it will surely bring a blissful smile to anyone’s face.