Thursday, December 02, 2010


Last night I met my fiancee outside the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Central, and walked through the maze of malls and overhead walkways to the Prince's Building, where she'd decided to surprise me with dinner at Sevva, up on the 25th floor.

I'd vague ideas about Sevva already; I assumed it was just another high altitude bar where bankers would go after work to bray at one another. And in this it didn't disappoint: there was already a raucous office party going on out on the balcony. Fortunately, we weren't going to have a romantic tete-a-tete in the company of fifty yelling blokes: the restaurant side of Sevva is round the corner, shielded by glass from high-volume braying, but still giving a clear view into the offices of Standard Chartered on the opposite side of Des Voegts Road, or out towards the harbour.

There is a ludicrous wine list. When the first page is all bottles that cost the same as a hefty mortgage payment, I had to carry on flicking - with increasing panic, as I had visions of there not being anything to drink beneath a thousand dollars (real, US dollars, not just Hong Kong ones) and us having to ask for a glass of tap water instead. Fortunately, we had a very fine bottle of red. I still haven't got far beyond wine coming in two different flavours (plus fizzy) but luckily after Saturday's wine tasting my better half was armed with knowledge about what to choose.

The menu itself is a mix of Italian, Chinese and pretentiously unpretentious fare. You know, the sort of thing where somebody makes you "just a bacon sandwich" but the bread was handpicked by Tuscan maidens at dawn, the pig lived on truffles and port all of its life, and the brown sauce is made from balsamic vinegar and diamonds. Never mind.

We started with a Caprese salad and some pumpkin soup. The soup was delicious - very earthy, with a bit of curry in the flavour, when I thought it would be something a little too refined. The Caprese was good, but I think I was spoiled by the smoked mozzarella I was served by my chum Sergio back in February; it's hard for anything to approach that. It was good mozzarella in its own way though - very, very milky, although perhaps a touch too cold. 1

We split a dosa next, which was very, very good: it had a real kick of spiciness to it that left me huffing and puffing a couple of times, to my dearest's amusement, until she got a dose of the same. The wrapper was just crisp enough; I felt the giant shard of poppadom that earlier graced the table was an inadequate subsitute for bread, but the dosa more than made up for that.

For a main I had the papardelle, my boon companion the risotto. It's gratifying to find a place that will serve that variety of vegetarian food in Hong Kong. Given how rich it was, a plate of meat would probably leave you incapable of motion for days.

We rounded off things with a chocolate fudge cake for me, and lemon meringue pie for her. That was overambitious; really we should have split one dish, because after that we really were well and truly sated. The fudge cake: terrific, with the surprising addition of marmalade. This turned out to be strings of orange zest, which were a good counter to the sweet, sweet chocolate and the fudge icing. I'm almost drooling again now.

The lemon meringue pie, less so: basically, there was far too much meringue, which is perhaps an unfair criticism when you've ordered lemon meringue pie, but there you are. When I tried it, I thought the lemon was a little too cold; again, perhaps I'm just a bit too hot.

In summary, then, drink the wine. Have the soup and a dosa, and then leave room for a bit of dessert: we were slightly too greedy, for all that lovely, lovely food.

Staff: ok. Which is not really good enough for a restaurant like Sevva, but if the rich and the powerful like vaguely inattentive staff, then who am I to complain?

Decor: it's dark. Ruddy dark. I know you want to admire the view, but I wanted to be able to see my beloved too, not just the HSBC building.

And finally, my real gripe with Sevva: the seating. Our table seemed to be the wrong way round, so we were miles apart, and the seats are so low that you sat like a small child, chin barely reaching the table top. We swapped and I took a cushion and sat on it, which got me to a reasonable height, but with no back support and having to crane forward across the expanse to see my fiancee meant I had a ruddy sore back by the end of it all.

But again, it was worth it for the evening, to see how the bankers live. And it would be churlish not to say what a lovely meal I had with my dearest. Truly I am a very, very lucky chap.

1 Yes, it does concern me that I have reached a rarefied point in my existence when I can complain about the temperature of cheese not being exactly what I expected.


Minnie Bus said...

Anything for a good dose o' dosa. Remind me to take you folks to Woodlands in TST next time.

Mr Cushtie said...

We'll definitely take you up on that, Ms Bus.

Oh, and we went and got our new knife. I was going to run happily towards you waving it over my head next time I saw you, but then I realised that might not look the way it was intended...

Post a Comment