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Lan Kwai Fong is the one-stop destination for nightlife and dining for both tourists and locals alike. With a culinary scene as diverse as Hong Kong’s own community, new addition Viva La Vida caught our eye with their opening last month, and they certainly did not disappoint.
Located at the back of California Tower, Viva La Vida is a Spanish restaurant by day and roaring club by night. Serving authentic Catalan cuisine, they have also adopted the generosity of the Spanish with their policy of serving a complimentary platter of sliced Iberico Ham for each party. The rich flavour of ham is more than enough to whet your appetite while the starters make their way to your table.
Seafood is a must for Spanish cuisine and Viva La Vida ticks that box easily. The Avocado & Shrimp Roulade with Lemon Pepper Pearls, Salmon Roe, and Seafood Jelly ($198) is one of their signatures, with slices of avocado meticulously plated to wrap around the shrimp, just like an intricate Christmas log. Their Grilled Octopus with Potato Confit ($178) was also a delightful surprise, with the octopus tender and soft, a hard feat to achieve.
Their mains are more meat-heavy, featuring a Lamb Rack with Braised Daikon, Mustard Caviar, and Curry Apricot Chutney ($328), seared to the perfect pink colour. But Viva La Vida does more than just serve up standard recipes; they add in unique modern touches, such as the mustard caviar on the side of the lamb rack that will give you pause to appreciate. It may not be an obvious and noticeable accompaniment, but thanks to a delicate technique used in molecular gastronomy, once you burst the caviar bubbles, the condensed flavour of mustard will come spilling out!
If that’s a little too experimental for your traditional palate, there is always the choice of a classic Paella, if you still have space in your stomach, or their signature Suckling Pig ($798), but you have to make sure you bring at least three other friends with you to finish their abundant portions!
Desserts are the highlights of our meals, and we always have extra stomach space kept in reserve for the sweets. The Churros with Caramel and Chocolate Glaze ($88) are a must-try and the chefs show off their expertise and skills by crafting them from scratch. Served crispy and warm, the churros come with warm caramel and melted chocolate served on the side as two dips. Trust us on this: the caramel, in particular, will blow you away. The glaze is semi-whipped and cooked just enough to impart the sweet tangy flavour of almost-burnt caramel that will leave you wanting more.
Don’t forget about the drinks! With a large circular bar as the centrepiece—and the first thing you see when you step into the restaurant—the bartenders here aren’t just for show. Try some of their classic sangria mixes or have them whip up a custom cocktail just for you. The bartender’s choices are also an exciting option; you never know if you will end up with a frozen slushie or a sweet cocktail that leaves you blushing afterwards!
Viva La Vida, UG/F, California Tower, 30–32 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central | (+852) 3643 1455