A Vegan Set Dinner Feast in Sheung Wan
With plenty of opportunity for overindulgence in HK, it was refreshing to step into Maya Café for a feast of raw, vegan and gluten free goodies. Having visited the Wan Chai restaurant before, I was super excited to try out the new seven course “Madame Butterfly” set menu at their Sheung Wan location. I must admit that I was slightly apprehensive about dining solely on a slightly alternative menu and fully expected to need a cheeky burger pit-stop on the way home afterwards! Although some of the dishes left me a little disappointed, I was pleasantly surprised by the level of creativity, flavour and nourishment of the Mediterranean mezze on offer.
Maya is beautifully and thoughtfully presented and radiates that crisp, cool Grecian vibe with modern, simplistic table settings and blue and white accents throughout the space. The restaurant, while small in size, still manages to create a chic ambiance for their customers to enjoy amidst the colourful chaos of Sheung Wan. The table service was fabulous and the Manager, Benny, was absolutely charming and extremely attentive, which really added a personal touch to the dining experience.
We kicked off our tasting with an entrée of assorted dips: guacamole, spicy cheze (a vegan variety of traditional cheese) and “pinkito” – a special in-house secret recipe – and some flatbread to mop up the veggie goodness. This was a spectacular selection; the dips were the perfect consistency and full of sweet, sharp, contrasting flavours and the bread was wholesome and filling. Unfortunately, the next round of an organic Patagonian salad did nothing for me and I felt like I was just sifting through a board of tasteless leaves in the hopes of finding some of the other ingredients.
Maya pulled it out of the bag with their Vushi though (raw, veggie sushi donchaknow!) and I savoured every bite of the rolls full of spicy, south American- inspired fillings.
Next we were treated to grilled Portobello mushroom and organic tofu skewers which were really delicious, tangy and sticky – with just a hint of smoky barbecue undertones. To accompany this, we each had a bowl of baked potato fries with a trio of dips: traditional chimichurri, no egg wasabi mayo and homemade mustard. Again, the dips were sensational – the wasabi mayo was the real stand out for me – but sadly our fries were served cold which took away from the entire side dish.
We moved to the final course with a palate cleanser of Maracuja “nice cream” with fresh fruit and cacao nibs and a Dulce de Leche berry cheese cake. These were both pleasant, healthy dessert options and, while it would be unfair to expect them to taste like a full-fat slab of American-style cheesecake, they certainly hit the sweet spot.
I would definitely return to Maya for lunch, or take advantage of their takeaway and home delivery services. The food is certainly something special – and healthy – and I applaud them for taking a different slant on the HK dinging scene. However, I did feel like the café’s setting in a shopping mall lacked the right ambiance for dinner time and it was a little too commercial for me. Although we were happy to enjoy a leisurely dinner (and sip on the guilt-free organic, vegan wine) the service from the kitchen was also extremely slow which might be an issue for some people. Overall, I think Maya is a good option for homemade, meatless meals in a casual, laid back atmosphere.
Maya Café, Nan Fung Tower, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/MayaCafeMediterraneanLifestyle