The new executive chef at the helm in the kitchen, Conor Beach, has taken inspiration from different regions in Asia, spanning from Indonesia to coastal Japan, the mountainous, arid region of Xinjiang and more for the new menu.
Chef Beach, from the USA, has worked in Hong Kong for the past six years, most notably at Balinese restaurant
TRi in Repulse Bay and Sheung Wan’s French hotspot Bibo.
Location, location, location
The insane views from CÉ LA VI
We began in the club area of the restaurant, where we ordered a number of large cocktails to kick-start the meal (why not?). CÉ LA VI offers two-for-one cocktails, wines and beers during happy hour (daily, 3–8pm) in the lounge area. We had Hello Stranger and Sin on Sky Deck ($148 for 2). The cocktails were well made, and as they were enormous, well worth the price.
As we were being led into the dining area a floor below, we were also lucky enough to get a glimpse of the incredible views of the heart of Central on a cloudless night.
Dining area at CÉ LA VI
The dining area feels simultaneously spacious and intimate; we think diners could enjoy the space as a large group, but some tables in the peripheries also provide a sanctuary of privacy should you wish. Plush chairs and mood lighting are supplemented by stunning 180-degree views of the city – a genuinely exciting location to enjoy a special meal. However, we aren’t going to soften the blow and tell you that the dishes here are affordable or mid-range – it can get pricey. You’re paying for the views and the location, as well as the fine-dining aspect.
Our three dish recommendations
Seaweed and tofu salad with mizuna, tosaka, samphire, tosazu dressing, sesame, bonito flakes and furikake crackers
The first dish we tried and loved was the seaweed and tofu salad ($108). This dish is deceptively simple. It resembles the contents of a bowl of miso soup at first, however, upon tasting it, we found that this dish is a textural playground. Slick and snappy bands of seaweed, soft and supple cubes of tofu, crunchy furikake crackers, along with the texture of the raw mizuna leaves, made each bite unique. Another aspect of the dish we love is how the salad was dressed so evenly – each surface was lightly coated with the tart and creamy dressing. A must-try.
Rougail dumplings with spiced tomato sauce, ginger, kaffir lime and curry oil
At first, the rougail dumplings ($118) reminded us of meatballs in marinara sauce that were significantly more refined and cross-cultural. These are typical dumplings you’d find in Cantonese and similar cuisines, but they’re elevated with ingredients from across the Asian continent – a smart and insightful dish. The filling of pork and vegetables was juicy and flavourful, and most importantly, the wrappers were the perfect thickness; there was no sensation of doughiness or leaks from the filling. Oh, and this dish is beautifully plated.
Grilled hamachi collar with Bali BBQ sauce, sambal colo-colo and grilled lime
The collar section is undoubtedly one of the most underrated cuts of large fish. Most restaurants either discard it or use it for stock, but on a large fish like the hamachi (yellowtail), it’s one of the best pieces you can grill. CÉ LA VI does this well. It’s not difficult to grill a fish collar – all you need to do is be patient and leave it to grill, but so many restaurants tend to forget this. The grilled hamachi collar ($178) we had was juicy and tender, beautifully charred and well seasoned. It’s supporting actors of sambal and Bali BBQ sauce were sublime; the sauces perfectly complemented the supple texture and smoky char of the fish.
CÉ LA VI’s new chef, Conor Beach, has certainly hit some high notes in his dishes. We had some outstanding dishes, such as those mentioned above, and one or two hit-and-misses, but we attribute this solely to him needing to find his sea legs here. We think those minor kinks will be gone by the time you read this. We recommend a meal at CÉ LA VI for a special occasion – the views are as spectacular as the food served.
25/F, California Tower, 30–32 D’Aguilar Street, LKF, Central, 3700 2300, book online
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.
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