Fine dining menus aren’t just limited to fancy cuts of meat – these vegetarian ones in Hong Kong are proof of that.
Vegetarian menus today are a far cry from the undressed salad greens of the ’80s and ’90s. Greens are no longer relegated to the domain of flavourless sides, and vegetarian dining is definitely not just for vegetarians. Just ask these six chefs, who are leading the pack with their fresh take on fruit and veg.
Whether you’re casually dipping your toes into the plant-based pool, or you’re looking to take your green-eating partner out for a fantastic meal, here are six fine dining vegetarian menus you definitely don’t want to miss.
Price: HK$1,080 (approx. RM580) plus 10% surcharge for 8-course menu
Haku, named after the Japanese phrase for ‘things from abroad’, is guided by seasonal ingredients from the region and the kappo style of Japanese dining. But don’t expect all traditional Japanese dishes on your menu. Instead, culinary nomad chef Agustin Balbi infuses flavours from all over the world at Haku, offering dishes that transcend culinary borders.
For the vegetarian menu, chef Balbi loosely follows a Japanese monk’s diet, in that the dishes are centred around amplifying the flavour of one ingredient. As such, there’s nowhere to hide if ingredients aren’t served with precise execution. The vegetarian menu starts with a refreshingly sweet Mochida tomato, skinned and segmented, and languishing in tomato water with smoked soy sauce and a topping of crunchy fried Shio kombu. A generous main of sweet potato is tucked into a salt crust and then baked, served with a moreish Manchego bechamel and shaved black truffle.
For dessert, Japanese Amawi strawberries meet Spanish strawberries for a delightfully sweet cultural mash-up. The wild strawberries from Málaga are closer to the rose family, yielding floral notes with every bite, and subdued by a delicate crumble, cream foam and light meringue toppings.
Haku, Shop OT G04B, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2115 9965
Price: HK$980 (approx. RM530) plus 10% surcharge
It’s hard not to be swept up by Roganic’s dreamlike interior, surrounded by live plants, natural textures and earthy tones. Mother Nature’s moody dining room seems worlds away from the clinically white Sino Plaza shopping mall just adjacent. Roganic’s own hydroponic garden is even flourishing in plain sight. (Fun fact: The kale has its own text message system, relaying to the team whether it needs more light or water.)
Although Roganic hails from British chef Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred dining establishments abroad, the Hong Kong outpost regularly recruits local ingredients. A tomato grown in one of Hong Kong’s own organic farms is paired with fresh creamy cheese, dill, marigold and tomato water. Roganic’s signature grilled salad also features local greens, paired with Westcombe cheddar, a truffle cream sauce, and a satisfyingly crispy kale leaf.
The appetisers are undeniable crowd-pleasers. The season’s new amuse-bouche, Ragstone, comprises pickled onion gel, shallot confit and English goat’s cheese. A savoury bread and butter pudding is imbued with truffle custard and birch sap, while picture-perfect chickpea rosemary wafers are worthy vessels for a rich, roasted garlic emulsion.
Roganic Hong Kong, G/F 08, Sino Plaza, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2817 8383
Tate Dining Room & Bar
Price: HK$1,280 (approx. RM690) plus 10% surcharge for 8-course menu
Chef Vicky Lau and her innovative French-Chinese cuisine can be savoured in one of the most stylish dining rooms in Hong Kong. Situated on Hollywood Road since 2016, Tate Dining Room is an intimate affair, seating just 30 guests in a warm-lit space with softly textured details suffused across the banquettes, dividers and grasscloth walls.
As for the food, expect similar levels of sophistication. Tate’s tasting menu is based on ‘Edible Stories’ or ‘Odes’. For the 8-course vegetarian tasting menu, the stories are deliciously compelling. Seaweed butter on sourdough and fermented tofu butter on brioche take the humble buffer bread to new heights. Ode to Origin, a Scotch quail egg with black bean hollandaise and fried leeks, is nothing short of exceptional, with the traditional meat swapped out for shredded coconut in an ingenious substitution.
Every dining experience at Tate ends with Ode to Chinoiserie, a playful microcosm for chef Vicky’s distinct culinary style. The Western cabinet with Chinese motifs conceals clever mignardises — small bite-sized confectionaries that end your dinner on a delightful sugar high.
Tate Dining Room & Bar, 210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2555 2172
Price: HK$1,988 (approx. RM1,000) plus 10% surcharge
The two-star Michelin restaurant at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, offers several tasting menus for vegetarian and vegan diners. The menu, revamped in May last year, drives home chef Richard Ekkebus’ philosophy of thoughtful plant-based fine dining. “My intention was to strip away artifice or gimmickry,” said chef Ekkebus.
Amber’s new food ethos dispenses with dairy products, minimises refined sugar and reduces salt in its offerings. Fatty flavours now come from over 40 non-saturated plant-based oils at the kitchen’s disposal, while sugar is swapped for agave, honey and maple.
For appetisers, tuck into the signature Okinawan corn dish featuring salicornia, seawater and sudachi. Mains include purple artichokes with preserved black winter truffles, spelt with black trumpet mushrooms, and salsify paired with Marcona almonds, buckwheat and blood orange. For the sweet-tooth, indulge in the Amao Strawberry dessert jazzed up with hibiscus and pink peppercorns.
Amber, 7/F, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2132 0066
Café Gray Deluxe
Price: HK$415 (approx. RM220) 2-course or HK$485 (approx. RM260) 3-course Revitalising Menu or Lunch Prix Fixe menu
For a healthy daytime dining option, Café Gray Deluxe has been offering their Revitalising Breakfast menu atop The Upper House since the start of this year. Featuring coconut chia pudding, scrambled tofu, vegetable hash and papaya-mango salads, this guilt-free meal will have you supercharged to take on the rest of the day.
The new menu options complement other items in the Café Gray repertoire that are organic, non-GMO and sustainably-sourced, like the organic tomato crudo and candied kelp, kasundi and fresh seasonal herbs, and a whole-roasted cauliflower with spiced dukkah.
Chef Gray Kunz says of the menu, “We use only the freshest ingredients, striving for locally grown, organic and seasonal produce wherever possible. The greater intensity and finesse of these products complement Café Gray Deluxe’s philosophy and style of cooking.”
Café Gray Deluxe, Level 49, The Upper House, Pacific Place 88, Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 3968 1106
Price: HK$820 (approx. RM440) plus 10% service surcharge
Fresh ingredients are at the core of Beet’s dining experience with the 8-course vegetarian tasting menu changing seasonally. Chef Barry Quek, who trained in Singapore’s Joel Robuchon and two-Michelin-starred Les Amis, launched the modern European restaurant with the overarching goal to bring high-quality ingredients to the diner’s table.
Local produce is given its moment in the sun, transformed by chef Quek utilising a blend of classic and cutting-edge techniques. Dishes such as pan-seared cauliflower steak show off Quek’s affinity for vegetables — a multi-textured dish featuring roasted cauliflower puree, cauliflower rice, and pickled cauliflower. The dish is finished off with pickled raisins, tarragon, dill and olive oil.
The drinks pairing menu is similarly focused, with select artisanal liquors, cocktails or a specially-curated wine list to compliment the chef’s distinct culinary approach.
Beet, 6 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2824 3898
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.