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Restaurants & Bars

Ta Vie - inventive Asian-influenced French cuisine (or vice versa?)

Bu Pun Su | May 28, 201808:57 AM

Hideaki Sato’s name is no stranger to Hong Kong’s foodies. He was the former head chef of Tenku Ryugin. The Global Link group then invited /challenged Sato-san to open his own restaurant in which he would have more freedom to express his passion and creations. It was his dream and it became reality when Chef Sato opened Ta Vie by mid 2015. (Global Link owns both Ryugin and ta vie; Hideaki is also part-owner of Ta Vie)

Ta Vie only serves one seasonal tasting menu – normally consists of 4 appetizers, 1 seafood, 1 meat and 2 desserts. Unless you have some dietary restrictions, everybody would eat the same thing. During my dinner in the Spring this year, some of the highlights of my meal were:
-the first 2 appetizers, Sato-san re-interpreted US common dishes: Caesar salad and Clam chowder. We could expect they would come with some twists. For Caesar salad, the main ingredient was Hotaru ika – tender and filled with oceanic flavor inside. The dressing was mixed with the Hotaru squid; interesting and tasty. For the clam chowder soup, instead of clam, Chef Sato utilized crunchy Tsubugai. It was accompanied by green peas while the creamy soup was light and not cloying
-the simple ‘fruit dish’ happened to be very good. I was referring to juicy white strawberries, sweet Italian beetroot, and fresh tomato – these were tossed with milky burrata cheese and aromatic basil + vinegar
-Large Japanese langoustine (cooked simply & perfectly) with elegant flavor and firm texture. Believe it or not, it was the first time I ate Tenaga-ebi and it was outstanding, even better than the more well-known Ise-ebi. It was served on top of balanced broth. On the side, there was cabbage dumpling filled with pork tail and Yunnan ham; this part was alright.

The rests of the dishes? you’re welcome to see from the link below. For the beverages part, Ta Vie provided some non-wine as well as non-alcohol drinks (such as different kind of high quality teas). The food’s quality was very high, balanced and flavorful. I respected Chef Sato even more after having learned that many of the kitchen staffs left so the man power was thin (4 people including Sato-san; the restaurant was nearly full on Saturday night) – the common case in HK or Singapore where staff turnovers were high after having received year-end bonus and CNY hong bao. The butter, bread and many other elements at Ta Vie were still created homemade from scratch despite this situation. I noticed Sato-san looked thinner and tired (compared to when I met him at Ryugin) that night, still the commitment and pursue of excellence never waiver. Honestly, this condition did not seem to affect the quality of my tasting menu … well, they have stopped the lunch serving though since early March

Throughout the night, I was served mainly by one Japanese staff and Ms. Hiromi (the manager and Chef Sato’s wife). While the Japanese waiter might not have the perfect command of English, it was still clear / good enough. More importantly, in the busy evening, she was consistently sincere, energetic, passionate and knowledgeable. Thus, the service was efficient; my water was consistently topped up and the food served was well-paced. The special part of Ta Vie was probably the fact that the food was unique and inventive … owing to Hideaki Sato’s backgrounds. He was trained in western cuisine for nearly a decade (mostly French), then he focused more on the Japanese cuisine. In the process, he also studied about bakery, pastry and wine. That’s why he wanted and was able to handle all aspects of the guests’ dining experience here. To achieve this, he decided to utilize Asian produce whenever possible. It was a very good 2-star restaurant and Ta Vie should have no problem to keep it. Though I had a feeling, it could lead to the path of Amber if 5 years later, Sato-san still does not receive Michelin’s 3rd star …

More detailed review: http://zhangyuqisfoodjourneys.blogspo...

Pictures of the meal: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7124357...

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