As you might gather from its name, CVCHE specialises in fresh seafood. Although there are a few non-fishy dishes, if you aren’t into your seafood, this probably isn’t the place for you.
Its clean, white décor is also inspired by the sea, with a long table made of what could easily be a piece of refined driftwood, and a panel of air bubble-inspired ceiling lights. It’s a very welcoming space that sits on the second floor of Wyndham Street’s Parekh House. Unfortunately, however, it didn’t seem to welcome too many people and was surprisingly empty for a Friday night.
Although CVCHE’s main speciality is apparently its selection of oysters, we skipped these and went straight for the restaurant’s namesake, Mexican ceviche of salmon, tuna and red snapper with pineapple and avocado, served with corn tortillas. Whilst the seafood was all deliciously fresh, it didn’t quite have the necessary citrusy zing required of a good ceviche, even if the tart pieces of pineapple did assist a little in providing this.
We were impressed by the sea scallop carpaccio with truffle oil, lemon essence and lumpfish caviar. Again, the scallops were wonderfully fresh, with a delicate flavour that was enhanced, but not masked, by the rich truffle oil.
The Australian salmon and yellowfin tuna tartare duo brought a touch of Asian flavours to the mix, with spicy ginger vinaigrette, cucumber, avocado, sesame and Japanese chilli powder. The combination of flavours worked well with the fresh seafood, although it would have perhaps been a little more exciting if the two kinds of seafood had been dressed with different flavours rather than the same.
Having only really eaten soft shell crab in sushi rolls or cut into pieces, I was surprised and intrigued by the whole crispy soft shell crabs that appeared before us, served with tomatoes, bacon emulsion and sherry vinegar. Although I can’t say I could taste the bacon emulsion, the texture and flavour of the little critters was spot on.
The sautéed crab cakes with tarragon aioli also had a lovely texture and a generous amount of crabmeat, as opposed to being fleshed out with potato. Unfortunately, however, I found the flavour a little too bland.
Moving onto the mains, the crispy skinned Australian king salmon was delicious. The fish was lovely and light, whilst the colourful medley of organic faro, persimmons, watercress and pomegranate salsa with which it was served, added even more fresh flavours and interesting textures.
We decided it might be a good idea to see how CVCHE coped with non-seafood dishes, and so tried the grilled US hanger steak. Glazed in a rich Madeira sauce and served with creamy horseradish mash and baby vegetables, the beef was very tender and flavoursome. It’s good to know a seafood-centric restaurant was capable of executing a good hunk of meat.
For dessert, the lemon tart brûlée, despite not having quite enough crunch on top, had a good citrusy flavour and satisfying texture.
The chocolate bomb, on the other hand, for which we had waited in eager anticipation for the 15 minutes stated in the menu, was a complete disappointment. Upon cutting it open, there was not even a hint of molten chocolate; the whole thing was cooked through and dry. Perhaps 12 minutes would have resulted in the chocolate explosion we were expecting from a so-called ‘bomb’.
The bill amounted to $660 per person, including a bottle of wine. However, when our individual receipts came, a further $100 had been added to each. It seems, although we had not been told, that the beers the boys ordered, which came from the restaurant’s sister bar upstairs, had to be charged on a separate bill. Had we been informed, this would have been no problem at all, but the way it was handled was just a little awkward.
Service on the whole wasn’t great, despite the fact the restaurant was not full. The same can be said about the ambience; I love Jason Mraz, but during the time we were there, I think we must have heard his album at least three times! There were, however, some delicious dishes and the quality of the seafood was excellent. Despite a few imperfections and perhaps not the most exciting atmosphere, for good, fresh seafood, it’s definitely worth giving CVCHE a chance.
2/F Parekh House
63 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 2810 9881