Whether you’re vegetarian or a fully-fledged carnivore, newly opened VEDA in Ovolo Central is sure to impress with its fresh take on vegetarian cuisine.
District: Central, Hong Kong
How much: Short Eats range from $58 to $78; Salads range between $58 and $118; Mains range between $58 and $145; all Desserts priced at $70
Must Order: Baked Aloo Gobi, Pani Puri, Soba Noodle Salad
The Best for: The space is elegant yet relaxed, perfect for a veggie date night or a sharing feast with friends
Sassy Tip: VEDA offers up all day dining, and is open from 6:30am to 11pm daily. Swing by for breakfast as we’ve heard that it is offering up a whole menu dedicated to avocado toast (starting from $68), along with other veggie delights.
In 2018 we saw the rise of plant-based products in Hong Kong, with vegan restaurants becoming a thing of the norm, and more and more meat eaters turning away from their carnivorous ways. Now, less than half way through January 2019, Hong Kong’s first all vegetarian hotel restaurant has opened. VEDA can be found in the newly revamped Ovolo Central hotel and is the first venture into the HK dining scene by renowned Australian Chef Hetty McKinnon. Of Arthur Street Kitchen fame, McKinnon is celebrated for creating vegetarian food, that’s not just for vegetarians, and that’s exactly what VEDA does.
In years gone by, a restaurant serving only vegetarian, and many vegan, dishes may conjure up images of a menu made up of bland and boring salads, and a few juices and smoothies thrown in for good measure. But that is far from what VEDA brings to the table. Brought up in Australia, with Chinese roots, and now living in Brooklyn, McKinnon’s cooking style has clearly been influenced by a mix of cultures, and this is apparent in the food presented at VEDA – with everything from Chinese congee, Nepalese momos, Indian curry and Middle Eastern spices all making appearances. Taking humble veg and giving it a creative and inventive makeover, McKinnon’s refreshing approach to vegetarian cuisine is sure to satisfy even the most die-hard meat eaters out there.
The menu at VEDA is bold and bright, with an eclectic range of plates on offer. We couldn’t get enough of the freshness of the Soba Noodle Salad with Shredded Cabbage, Carrot and Ginger and shallot Dressing ($68/$118), perfect for a hot Hong Kong day. But on the flip side, the VEDA New World Congee ($50/$88) with brown rice, quinoa, spicy oil and shiitake mushrooms, along with the Homemade Semolina Potato Gnocchi ($145), with sautéed spinach, Grana Padano and crispy kale were pure comfort food on a plate. All dishes had punchy flavours, truly showcasing the diversity of veg, but the stand out dish for us was the Baked Aloo Gobi ($78/$130). The whole roasted cauliflower came complete with crispy potatoes and a mildly spiced lentil based curry. Gluten free and vegan, the dish epitomises what VEDA is all about – succeeding in its mission to show just how delicious and diverse vegetarian food can be.
But the main dishes on the menu weren’t all that impressed us. To start, we enjoyed some delicious Nepalese Ricotta and Spinach Momos ($78) with a smoked chilli and tomato achaar, but it was the little pops of flavour, texture and spice of the Pani Puri ($78) with potatoes and a spicy tangy water that we’re definitely going back for more of. The dessert menu did not disappoint either, as we sampled the Dark Sponge Cake with Passion Fruit Mousse ($70), along with the (vegan!) Fig Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce ($70). At polar opposite ends of the scale, the passionfruit mousse was light and zingy, while the cheesecake was rich, sweet and decadent.
Our verdict: We loved VEDA’s eclectic mix of plates and inventive use of vegetables, with its elevated take on comfort food favourites keeping us going back for more. The interior is also in keeping with VEDA’s spin on a modern vegetarian restaurant. Elegant and contemporary, the muted colours of the dining room, accented by all gold cutlery and simple furnishings are sure to be a hit in 2019.
VEDA, Ovolo Central, 2 Arbuthnot Road, Central, Hong Kong, www.ovolohotels.com.hk/ovolocentral/veda