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VEDA Hong Kong is a new plant-based restaurant from Ovolo Hotels, and we aren’t surprised at all by its appeal. Hong Kong saw an increase in plant-based diets since 2018, with vegetarian and vegan restaurants becoming more popular and many meat lovers adapting to more herbivorous ways. In fact, in a study commissioned by Green Monday over three separate years, it was found that nearly a quarter of Hong Kong’s population of seven million practice “flexitarian” lifestyles and that the number of “hardcore meat lovers” was almost halved compared to four years ago.
To cater to this increase, Ovolo Hotels opened up Hong Kong’s very first hotel restaurant halfway into January 2019. VEDA is their first foray into the Hong Kong dining scene and is located in the recently renovated Ovolo Hotel at 2 Arbuthnot Road in Central.
Since last year, Ovolo Hotels restaurants, bars and food services are entirely plant-based. They have hotels in both Hong Kong and Australia and believe the decision to favor vegetarian diets was influenced by their motivation to be more eco-conscious.
Ovolo Group’s founder and chief executive officer Girish Jhunjhnuwala explains: “We want to be conscious about what we’re consuming and practice sustainability as much as we can because we believe this can have an enormous impact on the environment and humanity at large. To that end, we’re evolving our food offerings so that our guests can continue enjoying great dining experiences in a more sustainable manner.”
The group says that its vegetarian movement started at VEDA in Hong Kong’s Ovolo Central. This plant-based trend has expanded to other Ovolo Hotel restaurants in Hong Kong, including Komune as well as to Australia, where Ovolo has gone plant-based in all of its locations.
The all-day dining establishment, which is the only restaurant inside Ovolo Central, offers an assortment of breakfast options and smoothies in the mornings accompanied by an a la carte menu for lunch and supper, all of which are meat-free.
The plethora of South Asian elements in vegetarian dishes makes them ideal for sharing; a few dishes are available in different portions depending on party size.
Hetty McKinnon, the chef and salad supporter behind Brooklyn’s Arthur Street Kitchen, developed VEDA as a purely plant-based restaurant. The VEDA team serves up colorful, flavor-driven dishes like Nepalese Ricotta, Spinach Momos with Smoked Chili and Tomato Pickle and Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger and Shallot Dressing, proving that vegetarianism is anything but bland.
VEDA may not seem like an obvious, or even preferable choice for meat-eaters. However, it will not disappoint, regardless of what your dietary preferences are.
The Nepalese Ricotta and Spinach Momos (HK$78) are a standout among the best appetizers. Try these alongside the Pani Puri with a side of sauteed mixed mushrooms (HK$65).
Pani Puri (HK$50) is a popular Indian street food delicacy. VEDA’s stunning plating and presentation of this street food will be the first thing to catch your attention. Despite being deep fried, they are crisp without being oily. These come in a smaller portion, so you may need a few orders for a larger group.
A half (HK$78) or whole (HK$130) portion of Baked Aloo Gobi (cauliflower with potato and curry sauce) is sure to please. Meanwhile, the Corn Khichdi with Wild Mushroom Curry is a delectable two-for-one meal available in both small (HK$78) and larger (HK$130) portions.
Designed by MAKE and KplusK Associates, VEDA’s aesthetic is simple but trendy. There’s a dedicated dining space for sit-down meals as well as a bar section for cocktails (and mocktails, of course). The room is unpretentious and the patterned wallpaper, chairs of assorted colors and textures and thoughtful plant additions brighten it up.
The space is intimate, so you may as well be seated at a friend’s home. Even by Hong Kong norms, this place is small – so make a reservation or be expected to wait.
VEDA Hong Kong is a haven for those seeking healthy options in Central, its meals aren’t just meat-free but also high quality, so you won’t feel like you are missing out. The venue’s atmosphere is relaxed and the menu options are accessible to a wide range of people.
VEDA is a must try for vegetarians, vegans, everyone in between – as well as anyone looking to reduce their meat intake and reduce their carbon footprint.
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