Sassy’s very own Kennedy Town resident, Helene, was raving about the new ‘it’ restaurant that’s opened up there. Tivo is Aqua Restaurant Group’s newest restaurant and it’s the talk of K-Town, so I was keen to try it out. The slick interior with its moody lighting and dark furnishings make for a sophisticated dining option in this otherwise sleepy, suburban part of town. I was intrigued to see how Tivo would fit in to this more relaxed area, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The open doors give this little resto a relaxed al fresco vibe, perfect for balmy summer evenings. I loved being seated at the side so that I could people-watch and I could even feel a slight breeze drifting in from the ocean. The whole atmosphere of Tivo is very cool, the perfect place to come after work if you’re looking to escape the constant buzz of Central but you’re still in the mood for good food and cocktails!
We decided to try some drinks from their cocktail menu, which includes Aqua signatures such as the Aquatini and Aqua Queen as well as Tivo’s own original creations. I went for the Tivopolitan, which added fresh watermelon to the classic Cosmo drink – the perfect refreshing cocktail to end the day with, and it packed a punch too. My plus one tried the Papaya Fresca with spiced rum, triple sec, orange and papaya juice. Although papaya isn’t my favourite fruit, I have to say that this drink was also pretty refreshing and reminiscent of summer (I’d still go for the Tivopolitan though!). At $120 a cocktail, you’ve got to choose something you know you’re going to like!
I was excited to try the food that Tivo had on offer, as their rather eclectic-sounding menu intrigued me. Tivo serves up ‘sharing plates’, ideal for sampling a range of these tasty bites. We began with the burrata from Puglia which I’d heard from Helene was delicious… and she wasn’t wrong. The burrata was creamy and to-die-for, absolutely indulgent with the organic, heirloom tomatoes and homemade-style pesto. The perfect summer dish!
Up next were the pan-fried river prawns tossed with sizzling garlic, chilli flakes and light chilli oil. You could tell these prawns were fresh, and they were just cooked enough so that you could really taste the flavour. The sweetness of the sauce with the tangy spiciness ensured the flavours were well balanced. Perhaps they could have gone spicier, but it was still an enjoyable dish! Another great dish for a summer’s evening.
We then had to try the slow cooked pork belly wrapped in a homemade soft bun with pickled radish, sesame seed and coriander. The pork belly wasn’t too fatty (which I liked!), but could have been a little juicier. The bao was beautifully soft and light though… it was just too easy to eat these bad boys!
Out came another plate of food, and this one was a little controversial! Helene loved the tuna pizza and had recommended it, so I was interested to see what it would be like. The tuna was actually raw, fatty tuna, accompanied with pickled ginger, salmon roe and garlic aioli. On a pizza? Would it work? Surprisingly, it tasted pretty good, although it was a little strange to have such a Japanese flavour combined with a quintessentially Western pizza. The bursts of salty salmon roe were moreish and perfectly complimented the sweet tuna… yum! I did find that I couldn’t have more than a slice or two though, as it was very rich.
Last but not least, we decided to try one of their vegetable dishes. The oven-roasted Brussels sprouts were split and seared to caramelise with a dash of mustard vinaigrette and a sprinkling of hazelnuts. I think this really showcases the adventurous nature of Tivo’s dishes, and the blend of cuisines that they try to incorporate. Although Brussels sprouts have developed a bad name, this dish shows that they can be much more than that hated Christmas dinner side. I personally loved the crunchiness of the sprouts and the sweet, nutty-flavoured sauce… sprouts are back!
Of course we couldn’t leave without sampling some of the desserts. We chose to try a little trio of all three, which included fudgy pecan lollipops with banana sorbetto, spiced butterscotch pudding with ginger and honeycomb, vanilla ice-cream and mango frangipane spring rolls. Although the lollipops were a fun, playful take on dessert, they were unfortunately a bit dense and dry. However, they brought it back with the incredibly rich pudding! The sweetness of the butterscotch teamed with the ginger kick and spices made this one pudding I would definitely come back for. If pudding is a bit heavy for you, the mango frangipane had a beautiful balance of tart and sweet, with a lovely filo pastry wrap.
After finishing off the meal with a strong Lavazza coffee, I was left feeling very satisfied. Tivo is a great place to come for quality food that’s got a twist, and the best thing is the relaxed ambience and open dining away from the usual Soho crowds. With dishes ranging from $78 to $168, you won’t break the bank (although make sure you put some cash aside for drinks!). The ‘market table’ sharing menu is great for groups, and I’m excited to try their brunch too! Welcome to the West side, Tivo!
Tivo, 33 Praya, Kennedy Town (corner of Holland Street), Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/tivokt