Restaurant review: eight-course tasting menu at Ta Vie in Central
Classic Japanese flavours given a creative update at this cosy and comfortable eatery
Ta Vie is the kind of special occasion restaurant for which you'll find yourself coming up with any excuse to eat at. The food — by Hideaki Sato (who was previously chef at Tenku Ryugin in the ICC) — is inventive, beautiful and refined, the service is knowledgable and discreet, and the location is intimate and comfortable.
I was recognised even before I sat down (although I booked under another name), and chef Sato came out from the kitchen to say hello.
The eight-course tasting menu (the only option, although they will accommodate dietary restrictions) changes frequently.
Sweet corn mousse with lightly torched botan shrimp and shrimp broth jelly was a great start to the meal; the light mousse — flecked with corn kernels — went well with the almost-raw shrimp, while the quivering jelly was cool and refreshing. Oyster on the half shell was wrapped in a thin slice of wagyu beef topped with ponzu jelly — light, classic Japanese flavours creatively re-imagined.Thin, tender seared slices of abalone were served with a lightly spiced green asparagus purée and an onsen egg, which we were instructed to break open to release the oozing yolk.
The chicken course came in two parts: an intense, peppery consommé, followed by charcoal-grilled Lung Kong gai — a local bird that was cooked so it had paper-thin, crackling crisp skin and wonderfully moist meat. Slightly bitter Taiwanese bamboo and dragon beard vegetable came fried in a stout beer batter, and was served with a moist mi-cuit grilled scallop. The last savoury course was the smoothest, lightest cauliflower purée served alongside risoni (rice-shaped pasta) topped with a generous amount of high quality uni.
Desserts — almond tofu with peach compote, fresh lychee, peach sorbet and oolong tea jelly decorated with hibiscus and fresh rose petals, then vanilla ice cream and chunks of banana with passion fruit jelly — were followed by bowls of freshly whisked green tea.
Ta Vie, 2/F The Pottinger, 74 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2668 6488. HK$1,880 without drinks or the service charge