Listen carefully, we haven’t got much time. I’ve been given a mere page to sing the praises of La Villa in the Sky. Of course, I’m not obliged to sell it to you but I honestly don’t have to. If you can get a table, go and see for yourself. Imagine fine dining atop the highest building on the skyline, surrounded by three glass walls and you’ll be close but nowhere near.
Of course, the sum of the parts are so much greater than the “good food plus good views” equation. The staff is friendly and efficient. Pleasant at all times and extremely well drilled, they move around what is quite an intimate space effortlessly. One keynote of a great dining experience is how often you remember the staff hanging around. The only time you notice them is when they are foisting delicious sourdough bread upon you. The female staff wore sneakers, which must have made their evening easier but which also added to the informal-yet-sophisticated vibe of the place. The chefs, however, were fully dressed for the occasion and had obviously earned their whites.
There was music, something I don’t care for personally, particularly at higher-end eateries but this was a quite hip soundtrack (depending on your age, I suppose) and it faded to almost nothing as conversations got going. Perfect. So, with the ambience and cool credentials checked off and satisfactory, how good could the food be?
In short, a revelation. We decided to let the staff pair the wines for us, which turned out to be a good choice, given the wide variety of dishes we were served. The wines were young but thoughtfully chosen to balance against the dishes, with nothing overpowering.
The courses were as varied as the season dictated, the stand-out but not show-off amuses-gueules were varied and seasonal and followed by several courses, of which two stood out in particular for me. The soy-marinated Scottish salmon with wasabi, fish roe and squid crisps was finished off with lightly pickled red onion and coriander for a real fusion explosion, traditional meeting Oriental and shaking hands firmly. The star for me, as a fish fanatic, was the turbot. Served with a rich, reduced lobster bisque, I was concerned by the addition of the coffee foam. When you eat it, though, you realize why the chef does the job he does. Just wonderful.
Go, get eating, and look out of the window – if you can take your eyes off the food.