People generally think of CE LA VI in California Tower as a place to enjoy a glass (or three) of Champagne up on the rooftop, overlooking Hong Kong’s impressive skyline, and seem to forget, or ignore the fact that just below the rooftop is a rather excellent restaurant. To mark CE LA VI’s two years in Hong Kong (see previous review here), the brand has hired new Executive Chef Jason Au and launched a brand-new Anniversary Tasting Menu.
Chef Jason previously worked in world-famous restaurants NOBU in New York, Beijing, Dubai and Hong Kong, so you can be confident that he knows his stuff. Over the course of the next six months or so, once the anniversary has been satisfactorily celebrated, Chef Jason will be adding his spin to the entire menu. I had my first taste of his creations several weeks ago, when I sampled the nine-course Anniversary Menu.
The menu begins, in true Japanese style, with a bowl of steaming hot miso soup, which nicely prepares the palate for the feast that is to come.
The sashimi tartare that followed was a clear indication of Chef Jason’s creativity. On a bed of the creamiest avocado purée, sat a medley of assorted sashimi of the highest quality that simply melted in the mouth. I was most impressed by the prawn, which was perfectly buttery and delicious.
I adored the spicy tuna, which came served on a crispy rice cake, with a sliver of a fresh, juicy tomato and a single shiso leaf. The flavours and textures all worked together beautifully and we could easily have scoffed dozens of these delicious creations.
I was a little surprised by the simplicity of the shitake salad, although it did have a lovely flavour. The shitake mushrooms themselves were delicious and I enjoyed the sesame dressing, but once I had eaten the mushrooms, there wasn’t really much excitement to this salad.
Speaking of salads, we also tried the seaweed salad from the a la carte menu, which, although also rather simple, was surprisingly tasty and moreish.
Chef Jason’s creativity could again be seen in the yellow pepper clams. Made with yellow pepper coulis and sake, these had such an unusual, yet deliciously sweet flavour, which was nicely balanced by the slivers of garlic and crispy bacon.
One of my favourite dishes was the line-caught snapper. I admittedly wasn’t that excited about this dish when I saw it on the menu, and still wasn’t that excited when it came to the table, but it was fantastic. The fish was cooked to perfection, the crispy skin even more so, and the coriander and jalapeño dressing was such a lovely match for it. The menu also includes a Hokkaido scallop dish, which we were unable to try on this occasion.
The last of the main courses – and definitely the star of the show (so far) – was the Australian Angus filet mignon. The beef was amazingly tender and full of flavour, topped with tangy pickled wasabi and crispy fried garlic – divine.
My absolute favourite part of the entire menu (as is often the case) was dessert: coconut and cinnamon tart with coconut and lime ice cream. Each component on its own was amazing, and together mind-blowingly delicious. Despite being so full we could barely lift our forks, we managed to scrape the plate clean and probably would have eaten more had there been any!
The nine-course Anniversary Menu is priced at $888 per person and is available for lunch and dinner. I was very impressed by Chef Jason’s menu and am excited to see what he does with the already decent a la carte menu. Next time you go for sundowners on the rooftop, pop downstairs for dinner – you won’t regret it.
CE LA VI
25/F, California Tower
30-36 D’Aguilar Street
Tel: +852 3700 2300