Hong Kong’s vegan and vegetarian scene has proliferated in the last few years, and now the autonomous territory of China has its first vegetarian restaurant within a hotel. Veda, inside the freshly revamped Ovolo Central Hotel, is open for business. Well-known Australian vegetarian chef Hetty McKinnon devised the menu, and MALE and KplusK Associates designed the space.
Despite an upsurge in the availability of veg foods, Hong Kong is still the world’s third largest per capita beef consumer, according to Beef2Live. McKinnon isn’t necessarily trying to convert everybody. She’ll be happy to reduce consumption. “I remain undaunted in my vision to win diners over with the other major food group: vegetables!” she told afoodieworld.com. “I think it’s a matter of communication — even though the food I create is vegetarian, I want people to understand you don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat it. My food is inclusive, it’s for everyone — carnivores and herbivores alike. My recipes are not centered around the ‘without’; rather they are 100 percent focused upon the ‘with’ — with food, with flavor, with texture, with creativity, with thought.”
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Diners will find lots of Asian influences on the menu, from Nepalese momos made with ricotta, spinach and smoked chili to a congee featuring shitake mushrooms, quinoa and kale chips. Desserts include dark sponge cake and a vegan fig cheesecake with caramel sauce. While everything on the menu is vegetarian, the many vegan options are clearly marked.
The Ovolo Central has a modern look. Its façade boasts a glazed black metal grid that invites ventilation and natural daylight. The hotel describes the décor of its 41 rooms as having an “edgy, rock-n-roll vibe” with many commissioned artworks. The 700 square foot Radio Suite, designed by award-winning firm ALT-254, takes up the hotel’s entire top floor for unbeatable Hong Kong views. Ovolo is a private, Hong Kong-based, family-owned hotel brand with properties in Hong Kong and Australia.
McKinnon has high hopes for Veda. “Hong Kong is a sophisticated, food-loving city with truly international people, so I strongly believe that they will embrace this new, healthier way to eat,” she told afoodieworld.com. “I applaud Ovolo for their forward-thinking approach to the future of food. A predominately plant-based diet is the way of the future — without getting too political, eating meat-free is one of the single biggest ways to reduce your impact on the earth. Frankly, it’s the smarter way to eat, for your body and the planet.”
Images via WEILL