It’s been a long time in LA that we have seen an old school hotel like the Avalon in Beverly Hills get a serious upgrade, so ‘haute-vintage’ gorgeous thanks to LA’s well known designer Kelly Wearstler. The hotel lobby and on to the new restaurant Viviane has been transformed to reflect mid-century California with an authentic 1950s-60s collection of vintage furniture hand-selected from around the world. Blended colors of deep and turquoise blues, gold, ivory, and neutral tones mesh in an array of materials and patterns, providing a sexy, subtle atmosphere throughout all dining spaces. Although we dined inside, the glowing pool was also abuzz as diners sat in private cabanas outside.
We were thrilled to be at Viviane’s opening night, where Stephane Bombet has partnered with celebrated Chef Michael Hung. Add to the all-star team, LA’s well known Managing Partner and Wine Director François Renaud, who has selected a wine list celebrating California and French varietals and Bar Director Ryan Wainwright, who has designed a cocktail menu referencing the mid-20th century. You may be familiar with seeing Stephane and Francois at Terrine since they are a big part of its success.
After many awards in San Francisco, Chef Hung opened Faith & Flower in 2013 in downtown LA, where he met Stephane Bombet and together they led the restaurant to numerous Best New Restaurant awards, most notably from Esquire, Los Angeles magazine, and Travel + Leisure. Bombet is one of the only restaurateurs in America to have received this prestigious award by Esquire twice.
Tonight Chef Hung presented us with his interpretation of Continental cuisine adding of course, the California touch of personally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. Happy to see so many writer friends in attendance, our first course was our favorite bite, the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare which included horseradish and perhaps a burrata mousse. It was so delicious and the tuna tasted so fresh we had to enjoy another. We split the Fuyu Persimmon and Corn Salad which included a tasty flavor medley with every bite. Then, after sipping a Vesper and Ricky we sampled the Shellfish Boudin Blanc consisting of Maine Lobster, Scallops, Gulf Shrimp, Sauce Américaine, but feeling more like a giant sushi roll. It was definitely not what I expected.
The Handmade Linguine with Geoduck and Manila Clams, Chardonnay, and Pan-Fried Breadcrumbs made me think of my mom because she always ordered pasta with clams when I was a kid. The clams were fresh with a perfect ocean-y sauce, although the pasta didn’t seem homemade. If you think girls in LA don’t like to eat, think again. We rounded off our dining experience with the tender but Seared Duck Breast & Confit Leg en croute with fermented Young Turnips and Citrus Emulsion, and found room for two desserts: a goat cheese cake dusted with graham crackers and fruit sorbet AND a caramel chocolate mousse with a fruit creme medley mixture on top. Overall, our meal was extremely memorable, but we still wanted more of the first bite.
“Continental cuisine is a part of my childhood experience. My parents took me to great restaurants like the 21 Club, and other fine dining restaurants in New York and Atlantic City. It is a part of my memory, and also a part of the collective American memory because so many of the flavors in Continental cuisine are embedded in our modern culinary fabric. I want to revive these classic dishes, make them approachable but still elegant, and layer them with a complex progression of flavors. As a chef in Los Angeles, I have access to the best produce, seafood, and meats in the country, product that was unavailable in the mid-20th century. Modernism in cuisine entails weaving in gentle twists with the new bounty we have, without straying too far from tradition,” says Hung.
Sip cocktails in one of the lovely poolside cabanas while grabbing happy hour bites, or spend a leisurely dinner enjoying the glorious new setting of Viviane.
9400 West Olympic Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA
Modern Continental cuisine for breakfast: Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Daily lunch service from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. followed by Happy hour from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Dinner from 5:30 p.m.– 10:30 p.m.
Reservations are available through the Open Table or call 310.407.7791.