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La Villa is comprised of several rooms sprawled over a convenient location adjacent to similarly lively establishments. Red tablecloths on well-set tables are reflected literally in deep crimson disco balls hanging from the ceiling dimly illuminated by low lighting. Chairs on the outside terrace are solid whilst those inside boast padded leather which add extra comfort. While many diners have a view of Central across a busy arterial road, most seem focused on internal features such as the open food preparation area or ornamental wine shelves. A live band adds extra atmosphere later on in the evening.
A determinedly eclectic menu adds Japanese delicacies to the restaurant’s original seafood, meat and pasta selection. Though the number of listed dishes is potentially limiting, the focus on simplicity, the use of good quality ingredients and careful preparation ensure there is a sufficient range to satisfy all. Oyster lovers can start with an impressive selection, principally from France, or take the option of diving into the massive seafood platter that comprises of crab, baby lobster, sea whelks and two abalones. Prime cuts of meat are also popular and deservedly so. Beautifully marbled Australian or Japanese wagyu beef comes with a punchy, aged balsamic vinegar, while a succulent rack of lamb is cooked to perfection and full of flavour. Meat also makes an appearance in the Japanese corner: thin slices top a delicious roll that complements an excellent range of sushi and sashimi. Pastas are less successful although the addition of truffle oil elevates the flavour of some, such as the crab angel hair. The same ingredient adds a sumptuous final layer to the delicately balanced mushroom cream soup. Dessert lovers are well-catered for and the thin-baked apple tart and a creamy Cointreau soufflé are sweet delights.
An interesting selection of bottles mostly from Europe are very reasonably priced and presented with pictures of their labels and helpful descriptions. A few premium examples are also available. Wines by the glass are pleasing and more than adequately accompany a meal.
Black-clad waiters provide friendly and efficient service even at busy times. They negotiate the various sections of the restaurant meeting diners’ needs skilfully and with aplomb.
Some premium dishes are expensive, but a three-course dinner for two should cost about HK$800.