Vivien Lau’s celebrated cake boutique Vive relocates, now offering a stellar all-day café menu
Vive goes back nearly a decade. It began as an online bakery in 2014, creating beautiful artisanal cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more. Then brick-and-mortar Vive Cake Boutique first launched as a pop-up in Repulse Bay in 2015, before moving to Central. Now the brand founded by Vivien Lau has been revitalised once more, relocating to an uber-chic space on Gough Street, with an all-day café menu offering up breakfast classics, snacks, mains and sweets.
Vive’s intimate jewel box of a space (700 square feet, seating 14 – to be exact) is just gorgeous, showcasing plenty of curves and a decidedly feminine pastel colour palette. There’s a small outdoor pet-friendly area at the front.
On the drink side, an in-house barista whips up all manner of coffee preparations brewed with small-batch, seasonal beans. The Taiwanese tea selection is just as noteworthy, from Uji matcha genmaicha, to raw pu’er, to white peony. Fresh juices are also available. We opted for the vibrant Pink Dragon (HK$60), a fruity blend of mango, banana, red dragon fruit and strawberry that seems to have been created just for the ‘gram.
Avocado toast (HK$108): avo toast might be ubiquitous these days, but Vive’s version is better than most. The perfectly ripe avocado is creamy, the egg is poached just right (oozing liquid gold) and the hollandaise sauce veers towards the light side, which we prefer. The sautéed spinach and crispy bacon are welcome additions, and the artisan sourdough is handmade daily by the folks over at Little Field.
Fish and chips (HK$148): rivalling the offerings from some of the finest chippies in Blighty, Vive’s fish and chips are absolutely delicious, boasting a cracking cornflake crust. The fish in question is flaky New Zealand ling, and the fluffy-in-the-centre French fries are jazzed up with smoked paprika. On the side, the accompanying mayo is mixed with bits of salted egg yolk, and we highly recommend it for dipping both the fish fingers and the chips.
Uni mentaiko (HK$228): this pretty-as-a-picture East-meets-West pasta dish is rich and indulgent. The velvety sauce coating the bucatini is made from mentaiko (pollock roe) and cream, alongside pan-seared scallop, shimeji mushroom, Hokkaido sea urchin and a cascade of salmon-roe pearls.
Pistachio tiramisu (HK$98): here we have tiramisu taken to the next level. Ground pistachios are folded into pistachio mascarpone cream that is then sandwiched between layers of homemade ladyfingers that have been moistened with Vive’s potent house-blend coffee. Light yet flavoursome, with the earthy nuttiness of the pistachio a great match to the richness of the mascarpone cream.
Be Zesty (HK$68/slice): unfortunately, they were sold out of Vive’s most-Instagrammed new dessert, the Thai milk tea cake, so we instead sampled one of the bakery’s signature chiffon cakes – Be Zesty. This citrusy, multilayered beauty features a fluffy, light and moist lemon-poppy-seed chiffon cake interspersed with Japanese yuzu custard and a moreish base made of crunchy almond meringue with a hint of honey. Trust us when we say that Vive’s cakes are amongst the best in town, particularly because they’re not overly sweet (they also have the lightest yet creamiest frosting around).
We’re impressed with the food and drink served up at Vive; the dishes are worthy complements to Vivien Lau’s sublime cakes and desserts. We’ll be back soon for another round of lunch, and next time, we hope that famous Thai milk tea cake makes an appearance.
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This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.