“Small but mighty!” Chef Joseph Sergentakis exclaimed as he proudly showed us around his kitchen. After the meal, we decided that that was no false claim.
With a new executive chef, new bar manager, a new restaurant design, and an overhauled menu, Cé La Vi Singapore remains proudly perched on the top floor of Marina Bay Sands. Upon entering, you’ll notice the increase in amount of greenery, as well as dark marble and natural wood.
We don’t have to tell you that a table reservation in the evening is the best way to take advantage of the 180-degree panoramic view that Cé La Vi has of the city. For front-row seats to a spectacular kaleidoscope of colours, request for a table in the front of the restaurant overlooking the Sky Bar. Another thing, if you have dietary restrictions, your server will be happy to trot out their shellfish-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and gluten-free menus.
With an extensive menu of more than 50 items, you’re more than spoilt for choice (also more potential for hit-and-miss dishes), so why not go straight for the jugular with the Hokkaido scallop and oyster ceviche ($34)? The shellfish arrived under a spoonful of pomelo, marinated with zesty calamansi juice, flavourful lemongrass oil and some coriander dressing. Spiced and tangy, it was certainly one way to work up an appetite!
Perfectly cooked, the poached foie gras ($34) was another winner at our table. The lentils, hazelnuts, and fresh pomegranate seeds balanced the creaminess of the goose liver. Definitely have this if you’re a foie gras fan. An alternate – and infinitely more politically correct – entree option would be the Tasmanian salmon ($22). A visual treat from the get go, the fish is served with citrus, solid squid ink (that I almost mistaken for seaweed), sea salt, and wasabi – a worthy tribute to their previously Japanese-centred menu. Garnished with passion fruit coulis and pickled kumquat, this is no basic salmon dish.
For the mains, we highly recommend their braised sea bream ($30) in coconut red curry. Served with a side of steamed nasi kuning (turmeric rice with coconut), the strong, aromatic flavours wouldn’t be out of place in Thailand and India. Unapologetically spiced, the red curry comes with young mango that provided the acidity the creamy broth needed. One made for the rainy days, as it’s sure to warm you up from the inside out.
Those craving red meat can go for the kimchi ribeye ($55), featuring the coveted Rangers Valley “Black Market” beef. Paired with a spicy homemade Korean sauce, the sweet potato noodles and assorted vegetables with eggs were the appointed sides for this dish. It did well to bring out the natural sweetness of the meat. Apparently, Chef Joseph does his own sourcing for the premium produce used in his dishes, even flying personally to Australia for a firsthand look at the produce.
End things on a sweet note with the rose and watermelon petit gateau ($26). True to its feminine sounding name, it looks like something out of Marie Antoinette’s petit chateau in Versailles. With a prep time of almost 24 hours, this is one to slowly savour. The heart of the intricately designed dessert made of light fluffy sponge cake, the exterior dons an almost armour like layer of white chocolate teardrops. Crumbs of frozen almost sour raspberries and watermelon are sprinkled all over the treat to help balance the flavours and give a refreshing twist.
Cé La Vi Singapore is located at Marina Bay Sands, 1 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018971. Open daily, with lunch from12pm till 3pm and dinner from 6pm to 11pm. For more details, check out their website here.