Tate Dining Room & Bar
Date of review: March 16, 2017 | Reviewed by: Wilson Fok
Tate’s new location is more accessible than its predecessor in Soho. Residing in a two-storey former event space, Vicky Lau’s relocated establishment is spread over two floors. The ground floor will house Poem, Lau’s new patisserie set to open in April. The narrow turn then leads guests up and along a marble staircase, revealing a stylish main dining area.
Embellished with golden light fixtures, the main dining area is painted in matte nude tones, with a healthy dose of pink and white weaving through the room. The 40-seat dining area is filled with evenly-spaced tables and a private dining room sectioned off from the main area and adjacent to the kitchen.
Tate offers a single tasting menu with no a la carte options. The eight-course tasting menu takes guests on a journey to discover Vicky Lau’s sources of inspiration, from specific ingredients to cultures that help shaped her cuisine. We began with a miniature sourdough loaf, homemade and served warm with unsalted butter and kombu butter, the latter adding umami complementing the light tang from the bread.
Scallop espuma with ceviche and dried, is a refreshing sensation, where a fluffy cloud of umami-rich foam enrobes finely-diced Hokkaido scallops—a mixture of raw and slightly charred bits adding both texture and flavour offset by sharpness from horseradish snow.
Fried menuke with silver needle supreme broth pairs deep-fried Japanese rockfish with silver-needle tea infused supreme broth, where the herbaceous tea resounds on the palate beyond the richness of ham and chicken. Pairing the dish with cold brewed silver needle tea certainly enhances the experience.
Vicky Lau pays tribute to her Chiuchow roots with a foie gras Royale with marinated goose, garnished with toasted spices. The foie gras custard was silky but the goose meat, despite being well-marinated, was slightly tough. Lau’s signature lobster tagliolini with crispy sakura ebi brings a generous helping of crisp sakura shrimps scattered across a cocoon of tagliolini, cooked to perfection with lobster sauce just rich enough to coat the pasta.
The menu drew to a close with tomato strawberry espuma and honey ice cream, a dessert served within a pink sugar sphere. Cracking the blown sugar crust revealed clouds of tomato foam with popping candy and an ice cream made from locally-sourced honey, a perfect sweet pairing to strawberry gazpacho.
Guests are presented with Japanese-inspired petit fours and a sweet treat of black sesame ice cream with matcha foam, and treats arranged in a zen garden fashion, where passion fruit marshmallow (sweet), rocher (crunchy), green tea opera cake (bitter and sweet), and chocolate miso bonbon (savoury) complete the meal on a high note.
At the time of our visit Tate has not acquired a valid alcohol license yet but we learned that the future wine list will be curated by Jeannie Cho Lee. The selection of the mocktail list offers Japanese herbaceous flavour combinations such as lavender with Kyoho grapes, yuzu and yoghurt and shiso and lime, the latter a booze-free version of mojito that is refreshing and an especially great pairing for the early, lighter courses of the menu.
Service at Tate is consistent, from the entrance to exit of guests. Throughout the course of the meal, an introduction is given for each dish, complete with chef Lau’s inspiration where it applies. Service flowed smoothly throughout dinner, refilling glasses and changing plates and placing cutlery for following courses all well-timed and expertly executed without being intrusive to the guests. The staff team is knowledgeable in everything from the décor to menu construction for Tate, and they show enthusiasm in sharing with the guests.
A tasting menu dinner for two with no wine pairing amounts to HK$3,600. The new offerings at Tate confirm Vicky Lau’s strength in coordinating colours in design and flavours in her offerings, fully exemplified throughout an unforgettable dining experience from start to finish.