Hong Kong Demon Chef Alvin Leung Opens New Concept Cafe Bau in Wan Chai
Hong Kong Demon Chef Alvin Leung is opening his latest restaurant Café Bau in Wan Chai, offering farm-to-table course meals with Hong Kong inspired flavours.
March 14, 2023
Restaurant History: As the latest Italian concept on Hong Kong’s Aqua Restaurant Group roster, Vista is perched on top of One Peking in Tsim Sha Tsui, offering stunning panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island.
Chef story: Executive Chef Andrea Mura is a proud Sardinian native whose love of Italian cuisine comes alive in the elegantly straightforward dishes. He brings with him a wealth of experience at places ranging from his hometown pizzeria at age 18, to his time at London’s Aqua Shard under the helm of Chef Anthony Garlando, to being manager of 11 outlets and 60 chefs as an eminent sous chef. With his firm handshakes bookending our meal, Chef Mura’s hospitable spirit was palpable both physically, and in the palate of his sumptuous dishes.
What’s the vibe and venue like: Living up to its namesake, Vista’s atmosphere is intimate and classy, with cushy booths and tiered tables nestled between lush green plants that make you feel like you're dining in a glasshouse suspended amongst paradise.
How much does it cost: Priced at a starting point of HK$688 per person for the meal – with a concession of HK$488 for children over five years old, and younger kids eating free – this stunning brunch is a great choice for the quality and variety it provides.
What is the menu about: Split into five spectacular stations, the brunch encompasses the starting block of a seafood platter for sharing at the table, a choice of one main dish per person, a shared dessert platter, and free reign on the buffet and live stations. Stunning.
What did we order: From the made-to-order main course options, we chose the Pumpkin risotto with pickled shallots, hazelnuts and parmesan, and the Gnocchi “alla Sorrentina” with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil.
Seafood Platter: Kicking off the meal was a fresh platter of fruit of the seas. Presented fresh, with touches of extra flavour from Chef's very slight seasoning and a squeeze of lime. Standouts from the bunch were trout tartare and lobster, for how well the natural tastes of the ingredients complemented the drizzle of flavouring.
Buffet Bar: Sectioned off into salads, a cheese table, Italian baked goods, oven-baked bites, and affetatti, the buffet was displayed against the setting of the restaurant’s extension, which gave the impression like the food was being beautifully offered in a glass box. Must-trys are the Amatriciana supplì which ensconces the failproof combination of meat and cheese in a crunchy exterior, and the thin-crust pizzas on offer.
Live Station: Updated daily, the live station glows with the day’s newest pasta and meat offerings under gilded heat lamps. I was lucky enough to catch the decadent Truffle Parmesan Cavatelli, that sees a handful of the namesake pasta thrown into a gigantic round of Parmesan for tossing and flavouring. Shredded truffle completes the masterpiece and lends its finishing touches to the decadent fragrance of the combined ingredients.
Pumpkin risotto with pickled shallots, hazelnuts and parmesan: It might be Springtime, but the autumnal earthiness of pumpkin is a doubly wonderful ‘creaminess’ agent that elevates the al dente risotto to the next level. Adding a contrast of crunch from the hazelnut and a pinch of sweet-and-sour umami brine from the shallots made the dish a standout amongst the feast.
Gnocchi “alla Sorrentina” with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil: There’s no messing with the classics, and Chef Mura knows that. From the springy bites of gnocchi – a little larger than the store-bought variety I was used to eating, which posed a welcome experience – to the bright tomato sauce flavoured with its star ingredient’s tannins and punch, the dish held up as a proud Italian serving.
Dessert platter: Variety, to me, is a plus on any menu, and the fantastic assortment of goodies that were presented had definitely won points from me. However, the selection seemed like it lacked a signature Italian verve that ran throughout the rest of the menu.
Chandon Garden Spritz: A treat for the spring and summer; this refreshing mix beautifully ties together the sweetness of its selected fruits with the effervescence of its light yet dazzling spritz.
Guests keen on free-flow bubbles can opt for the Prosecco package (HK$888 per person), the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label package (HK$988), and Ruinart Blanc de Blancs package (HK$1288 per person). All of the above also offer up to three refreshing cocktails, the Chandon Garden Spritz being one of them, as part of the free flow as well.
What we liked: Such a beautiful location would make for a versatile backdrop for birthdays, brunch dates, casual meetings, and more. Even amidst a cloudy day, the atmosphere was serene and open. Again, I love being open to options, which was reflected across the free-form buffet, live station, and drinks offerings. All of which carried a distinct thread of Italian influence, giving the dishes character.
What we didn’t like: It could have been an unfortunate pathetic fallacy, since the weather was not ideal. Personally, I felt the contrast of iced seafood offerings made for an outlier to an already strong selection of freshly made hot dishes. Upon a return, I would probably pair the platter with some carbs or bread from the buffet bar.
What you should order: Pumpkin risotto with pickled shallots, hazelnuts and parmesan from the mains, Truffle Parmesan Cavatelli if available, and Thin-crust pizzas, Amatriciana supplì, spicy salami, mortadella, sundried tomato with mozzarella from the buffet bar.
Location: Vista, 29 & 30/F, One Peking, Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Contact details: +852 2778 3255
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by Vista in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.
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