I was incredibly excited to hear that Maya Café, a new vegetarian restaurant, had opened a mere stone’s throw away from my office in Wan Chai. Located in the up-and-coming Star Street area, it’s one of the many new cool independent restaurants on Moon Street.
The restaurant itself is very simple with a relaxed European vibe, furnished with a vibrant chandelier and ethnic floor tiles, whilst the simple Mediterranean-inspired menu compliments its surroundings. The food here is home-cooked vegetarian goodness, with the set lunch menu offering a soup or dahl to start, a wide variety of main courses, a dessert and a fresh juice – all for $118!
Emma and I headed there in our lunch break, starting with a mushroom soup and a dahl. Whilst I preferred the soup, my partner-in-crime raved about the dahl; both were well seasoned and delicious, a great start to the meal.
The main courses on the other hand, left me divided – although very yummy and healthy, I thought that my tagine lacked the flavour and punch you would expect. A bit more salt, pepper and a few more spices and this dish would have been spot on! The mezze platter on the other hand was totally scrummy – so scrummy that we ordered more flatbread to mop up the baba ganoush and hummus.
Having stood at the counter and salivated over the raw chocolate tarts, we swiftly ordered one for dessert, alongside a raw orange muffin and a brown rice pudding. Raw deserts are interesting – you can’t really expect to have something that tastes like the real thing due to the different textures and tastes of raw ingredients. That said, the raw chocolate tart was one of the best things I have ever eaten! So good in fact, that Emma and I have vowed to return whenever we get our 4pm chocolate cravings – even though Maya is slightly further away than our usual 7-Eleven pit-stops!
As we were leaving, I spotted some baklava in the corner of the counter – how I missed it, I don’t know! Baklava is my weakness and I’m thankful it’s hard to come by in Hong Kong (well, until now!). This baklava was fantastic – sweet, nutty, flaky… like all of my Christmases had come at once!
I think it’s important to remember to relax when you step into Maya Café – you can see the two chefs busy cooking away in the kitchen throughout (the restaurant was packed by 12.30pm) so don’t come expecting a quick, in-and-out, three-course meal. Instead, it’s a very charming, home-styled restaurant that’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the mood for a yummy meatless meal.
Maya Cafe 5 Moon Street, Wan Chai