[Hong Kong] Ta Vie 旅 - 1* French-Japanese by Chef Hideaki Sato

Rating: ❤❤❤❤1/2

Ta Vie has always been on my list of restaurant to try but the price tag of $1880 (plus 10% service charge) for the 8 course tasting dinner menu has held me off until now as the restaurant started to offer lunch recently! The cozy and quaint restaurant was located on the 2/F of the Pottinger Hotel and as soon as we entered the restaurant, we were greeted warmly by Chef Hideaki Sato and his wife Hiromi-san who is in charge of service. The chef had worked at the 3* Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo and headed up the 2* Tenku Ryugin in Hong Kong before opening up Ta Vie last year which has already earned 1 Michelin star and #48 on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants in 2016. Ta Vie means journey in Japanese and we were certainly led on a gastronomic journey with the use of the best seasonal ingredients in Asia through our meal.  

We sat in one of these cute sofa booths where our menus had been placed on our table already like a message in a bottle.

Two lunch options are available with 3 courses at $450 and a shorter version of the tasting menu with 5 courses at $790 which is what we ended up trying. 

There had been some minor miscommunication about the reservation that I had forgotten already but Horomi-san was kind enough to offer us a complimentary cold tea of our choice to make up for it. I chose a Gyokuro which is a premium green tea that is grown in the shade, and it was refreshing to drink on a summer afternoon.

The homemade sourdough bread and churned butter were lovely as well, and the bread was replenished as we please. 

The first course was a simmered abalone and water balloon eggplant with Japanese ravigote sauce. The simmered abalone was really tender while I liked the contrasting textures of the sea grapes and chopped cucumbers but I thought that the ravigote sauce could have been more acidic to brighten up the overall flavors of the dish. 

The signature house made pasta with "Aonori" fresh seaweed sauce topped with Hokkaido uni was my favorite dish of the meal as the sweet sea urchin complemented the flavors of the seaweed pasta perfectly! 

The ray fin "a la meuniere" kombu sherry vinegar with black truffle was surprisingly delicious as the fish was crisp and golden on the outside which peeled away easily from a layer of soft bone in the middle of the fish. 

The wagyu "minute" steak with burnt onion and onsen egg in Japanese whisky sauce was like a twist on sukiyaki with an onsen egg hidden under the beef. The flavors were just like a typical sukiyaki as I couldn't really taste the whisky in the sweet soy sauce but I liked the creative presentation while the beef was super soft and tender. 

The dessert was a beautiful "Tarte au citron" with lemon confit cream, sugar crystallized tarte and meringue ice cream topped with two butterflies. I was more impressed with the presentation than the taste which came off as a bit mild, but it was still a nice dish to end our meal with. 

Lastly, I had a glass of Golden Oolong tea from Taiwan to go with the petit four which was a tasty walnut meringue.

Verdict - I highly enjoyed my lunch at Ta Vie with the carefully balanced flavors of the dishes and the superb service from the Japanese staff, and based on my lunch experience, I would love to come back for dinner to try the full tasting menu!

Ta Vie 旅
2/F, The Pottinger 
74 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Tel: +852 2668 6488

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