Address: 25/F, California Tower, 32 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central 中環蘭桂坊德己立街32號加州大廈25樓
Telephone: 3700 2300
Newly opened bar and restaurant, Ce La Vi, is probably one of the most actively promoted food and beverage outlet in Hong Kong this year, and giant advertisements with a red background and the words “Ce La Vi” can be seen all around Central.
This new haunt perches on the top three floors of California Tower in LKF, and the decor, in tones of red and black and with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a panoramic city view, is achingly chic. The rooftop bar, now one of the most popular nightlife spots in Hong Kong, is renowned for having a stylish jacuzzi in the middle.
At first, I thought that “Ce La Vi” is the Italian translation of the French phrase “C’est La Vie” (meaning “this is life”), but I later find out that the name is apparently an abbreviation of the French phrase. The outlet is owned by private equity firm L Capital Asia, which is in turn backed by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which can perhaps help explain the generous marketing budgets. There are other existing branches of Ce La Vi in Asia, including one at the SkyPark of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and one at the rooftop of Sathorn Square in Bangkok.
Ce La Vi is an upscale F&B brand, and it has very quickly drawn the elite crowds in the city after it opened. My girl friends have very sweetly organised a dinner at this hip outlet as an early celebration for my birthday, and the offerings on the menu are a selection of contemporary Asian dishes.
(1) We start off with some cocktails. While my drink is adorably adorned with rose petals, I wish it is a tad sweeter.
(2) This dish is interestingly called “Fluke usuzukuri” ($120), and is delicate and refreshing with hints of yuzu flavour.
(3) The sea bream ceviche with young coconut and pomegranate amazu ($140) is an inspiring and playful dish – a few of us are quite pleasantly surprised by the strong coconut flavour, which surprisingly goes quite well with the ceviche.
(4) Next, the squid tempura with sweet and spicy sauce ($100) arrives. Although not as crispy as the tempura at fine Japanese restaurants, it is still quite tasty and the sweet and spicy sauce is tangy.
(5) The pork cutlet with housemade tonkatsu ($205) is crispy on the outside, but the meat inside can be more tender and moist.
(6) The pork baby back ribs in miso sauce ($160) is deliciously tender and is a great dish for sharing.
(7) The Australian grain fed Angus filet mignon with cucumber kimchi ($775) is acceptable, but the beef’s flavour is certainly not outstanding. I quite like the flame grilled boy choy though!
(8) The bouillabaisse ($230), with snow crab, tiger prawns and snapper in a spicy miso broth, takes all of us by surprise, as we are certainly not expecting an Asian-style seafood soup. This spicy seafood soup turns out to be quite tasty and appetising!
(9) We are all very excited about the desserts as we have heard great things about them. The first dessert that arrives is Hong Kong cappuccino ($118), and it certainly lives up to the hype! The dessert is topped with a thick Macallan foam, which is absolutely addictive for whiskey lovers. In the middle is some milk tea ice cream which is very tasty too.
(10) We also try the white chocolate-junmai sake cream ($118). The white chocolate sake cream boasts a hint of sake flavour, and is served with yuzu scented fruits and salted toffee. Delicious, but the sake flavour can be stronger!
(11) The molten green tea tart ($118) is excellently done. The matcha flavour is strong and enticing, the middle of the tart is gorgeously molten as promised; it is served with a scoop of 64% Valrhona manjari ice cream.
(12) Last but not least, The Chocolate Bar ($118) is served, which also doubles up as my birthday cake/dessert. It is served with passion fruit caramel, banana and phyllo and has an appealing cocoa taste.
The savoury dishes here are not spectacular, but the desserts are very creative and delicious! If you are more interested in food than in clubbing, and are wondering if this restaurant is worth a try, then I would recommend that you visit this restaurant once for its ultra hip ambience and breathtaking night view, but adjust your expectations for the food accordingly.