The Mody Road precinct might not immediately come to mind as a place for refined dining but the newly opened Ava Restaurant will happily prove you wrong. A sister venue to LKF Hotel’s Azure, Ava is housed on the lofty 38th floor at Hotel Panorama and boasts spectacular 270-degree skyline views through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Led by chef Mike Boyle, Ava serves contemporary international cuisine at prices almost as high as the restaurant itself. That’s not to say the experience isn’t worth the price; both the presentation and the creativity behind the dishes far outweigh the expense. We recommend kicking the evening off with one of Ava’s cocktails. The pineapple mojito ($118) is a refreshing alternative to its original counterpart, while the Canton-ease sparkler ($188), made with 42 Below Manuka Honey vodka, lemon, Ayala Champagne and ginger ‘caviar’, is certainly a punchy start to the night.
Moving on to the food, the ahi yellowfin tuna appetiser ($168), stone-grilled with hearts of palm and spinach purée, is not as amazing as it sounds on paper. The fish arrives overcooked and quite dry. Fortunately, that’s just one small hiccup in the menu. The Atlantic salmon with goat’s cheese ‘snow’ and potato croquettes ($168) is delicious with perfectly soft smoked salmon contrasting with the crisp potato and creamy cheese. The meal picks up even further with the mains. The langoustine with gnocchi ($208) is full of flavour and perfectly cooked, but it’s the grilled cap steak ($388) from the Rhug Estate in Wales that’s really out of this world. Left to set to retain its juices, the beef turns out incredibly succulent, with no need for any extra condiments. Paired with rosemary carrots and chunky smashed potatoes, this dish is definitely the star here. To end the meal, ask Boyle to make tiramisu ice cream ($128) tableside using liquid nitrogen. This culinary show is a real feast for the senses.
Aside from the fantastic and innovative food, Ava’s contemporary venue could be the perfect escape from Central’s run-of-the-mill bars and clubs, and features live DJ performances from 10pm to 2am every Thursday to Saturday. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more relaxed and romantic environment, take the elevator two floors up to the open-air Sky Garden to admire the incredible view over a glass of Ava’s creative cocktails.
Although a little out of the way from the little bubble most Hongkongers create for themselves in Central, Ava is well worth the trek across the harbour. There are still a few creases to be ironed out, particularly with the service, but for a place where food is done with a true passion and creativity – and where the view is to die for – Ava has got what it takes to be a huge success. Ale Wilkinson
38/F, Hotel Panorama by Rhombus, 8A Hart Ave, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3550 0262. Mon-Sat 6.30am-10.30am, noon-2.30pm, 3pm-11pm & Sun 6.30am-10.30am, 11.30am-11pm. Dinner for two: around $1,000.
|Venue name:||Ava Restaurant/Bar|