Spanish-style restaurant Vi Cool opens at Harbour City, Hong Kong

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PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 6:16am

At the opening of Vi Cool, Sergi Arola's new tapas and wine bar at Harbour City, the first thing guests noticed were the walls.

The walls of the cosy but modern restaurant are constructed from brightly coloured cans of famous Spanish foodstuffs: sardines, olives and olive oil.

After the walls, the most striking thing about the event was Arola himself, presiding confidently over the celebration like a man utterly in his element.

Among the well-dressed foodies and media types, munching on spicy ceviche and foie gras on toast, Arola cut an imposing figure.

Suited up in chef's uniform and covered liberally in tattoos, the man of the evening saw no reason to worry about the vagaries of the restaurant business.

He laughed when asked about the current Spanish food craze in Hong Kong and did not mince words explaining what would set his restaurant apart.

"I have restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona. [Outside of Spain,] I have restaurants in Sao Paolo [Brazil], Santiago [Chile], Paris, Mumbai and now Hong Kong. I think I have a small understanding about what it means to open a restaurant far away. And my Basque restaurant in Madrid is a three-star Michelin."

Hard to argue with that.