Bar Review (South China): LAVO Bistro & Lounge

By Alastair Dickie

What: Shenzhen’s new temple to ostentation
Where: Rm 1B, Floor 1M/F, Kerry Plaza Tower 3, No 1 Zhongxin Si Lu, Futian District. Tel: (755) 8899 9676
How Much: Wine (per glass) RMB 60 upwards; draft & bottled beers RMB 50 upwards; whiskies RMB 60 upwards
Why: For that uptown feel

Hidden inside the elaborately affluent Kerry Plaza tower complex, this downtown bar lounge is a league apart from its grungier counterparts in nearby Coco Park North. Elaborate marble floors, a sweeping bar with a lit-up spirits display and a long, elegantly furnished lounge area all set the luxury tone. The indulgent - vaguely Latin sounding - music wafts over the bar’s few patrons from a solo guitarist playing to himself in the corner, and both the chic lighting and the plush décor add to a general air of self-important sophistication.

With this in mind, I immediately regretted my decision to wear jeans. Then, when the menu came, I began to regret my decision to come at all. For Shenzhen the prices are extortionate: beers start at RMB 55, what little wine that comes by the glass is priced around the same and spirits begin at RMB 60 for a single. The Italian-themed food menu is even more distressing, with not a single main meal clocking in under RMB 100. I started hungrily eyeing the lavishly ornate exit.

Still, this isn’t – nor ever will be – my type of place, and what I see as pretentiousness others may truly see as sophistication embodied. Yes, the décor may be flashy, but it’s a far cry from the peeling facades more commonly associated with Shenzhen’s “luxury bars”. Yes, the menu may be expensive, but owing to the impressive dishes made by Italian (master) Chef de Cuisine Gianni Lacelendola. And yes, the spirits are extravagantly pricey, but there are a lot of them, meaning that you really are spoilt for choice. In particular, the whiskies here really are unparalleled: Bowmores, Glenmorangies, Dailuaines, Talliskers, to name but a few. And all are served in hefty tumblers with an outrageously sized (hand-carved, the manager informs me) ice-sphere.

All in all though, LAVO leaves me a little ambivalent. It’s never going to be a “regular”, but if I ever wanted to suitably impress, it could be on my list.


Syndicate content