(A new take on the old classic shrimp cocktail/Photo by Brishti Basu)

A combination of stunning waterfront views and exquisite dining is officially back at downtown Victoria’s Inn at Laurel Point.

The hotel’s iconic restaurant, Aura Waterfront Restaurant + Patio, has just reopened after 12 months of renovations and facelifts, but their interior is not the only thing that’s new.

The year-long interval gave Executive Chef Takashi Ito and his team of culinary masterminds ample time to brainstorm and create an entirely new menu featuring globally-inspired small plates.

“Aura is a high energy restaurant, serious about our food, but casual in our approach,” says Executive Chef Takashi Ito. “We want our guests to experience a variety of flavours and bold dishes, in an approachable way.”

(Behind the scenes)

Their new small-plate menu allows visitors to sample several dishes rather than miss out their large selection of gourmet items.

It also features a section specifically for vegetarian and vegan diners, along with a larger than average selection of satisfying, yet light and refreshing desserts.

Standout dishes include the buttery, grilled Focaccia bread meant to be ripped apart and savoured by hand; the heated BBQ Sambal Skate on banana leaf with xo sauce and jicama slaw; the melt-in-your-mouth Rendang-style beef belly; and the sole survivor of Aura’s old menu, back by popular demand: their deep fried sushi with torched albacore tuna, sambal mayo and wasabi caviar.

(Fresh grilled focaccia bread)
(Prawn & smoked salmon Okonomiyaki, karaage prawn head, tobiko, togarashi mayo)

More adventurous diners may want to try Chef Ito’s award-winning creation – prawn and smoked salmon Okonomiyaki featuring a crispy karaage prawn head resting on a bed of togarashi mayo.

“Small plates give us more flexibility to showcase our talent in the pastry shop,” says Pastry Chef Kimberley Vy. “Bite size items are much less of a commitment in terms of size and price point, and hopefully influences the diner to really embrace the new techniques we’re introducing.”

Those with more of a sweet tooth are invited to indulge in several of Chef Vy’s creations, including a salted egg custard and craquelin profiterole that explodes in your mouth, and a fresh a banana mille feuille with miso butterscotch and Orelys ganache.

(Banana Mille Feuille, miso butterscotch, Orelys ganache)

Aura’s new interior design features 104 indoor seats, including 10 bar, 20 lounge, 2 private rooms and 44 patio seats from which to take in the breathtaking inner harbour views.

Their food menu is complemented by an extensive wine list curated by three in-house sommeliers, along with a host of creative new mocktails and cocktails.

While both the restaurant and the Inn at Laurel Point are open and welcoming guests, the hotel is still undergoing renovations to complete their new meeting spaces, garden, and lobby.

The entire revamping process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

(Deep fried sushi, torched albacore tuna, sambal mayo, shiso, wasabi caviar)
(Profiterole, salted egg custard, craquelin)