Spring menu at Veda, a vegetarian restaurant at Ovolo Central
A new Indian-inspired vegetarian menu for Spring
At a recent dinner out, the conversation turned to vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong. There are many casual Chinese vegetarian restaurants, but what about for those evenings where you want a nicer, trendier place to enjoy cocktails and wines alongside creative vegetarian dishes — and at reasonable prices? We all sort of sat there with few places coming to mind. There are some stylish vegetarian or vegetable-forward restaurants in Hong Kong of course but often they are quite expensive for fairly basic food. That said, none of us were vegetarians. Rather we were all quite indulgent food lovers! But being health-conscious over gluttonous is more of a consideration these days and I’m on the look-out for more options in this category.
Then I went to Veda (pronounciation: Vay-da), located at the Ovolo Central. It’s located right up the stairs besides dragon-i and has a super stylish exterior — a quick search on its Instagram geotag shows many posing in front of the restaurant. The reason for my visit was to try their new Spring menu, which focuses on Indian-inspired dishes by Executive Chef Raul Tronco Calahorra. Would Veda be a vegetarian restaurant that we’d happily go back to?
First a note that Veda’s focus on vegetarian food isn’t a gimmick. The Ovolo Group has an ongoing pledge to ethical eating and have committed to vegetarian-only offerings across all of its hotel restaurants for the second year. This follows on from their ‘Year of the Veg’ campaign which launched in October 2020 where their venues transitioned to vegetarian-only offerings for one year.
So what’s on the new Spring menu?
You won’t mind any meat substitutes on Veda’s menu but a variety of whole foods and a couple of treats.
We started with the Heirloom Salad ($118, gluten free) with labneh, pickled pearl onions, and dill. This was well-balanced with the tangy labneh, grassy dill, and sweet-sour onions complementing the purity of the juicy tomatoes.
I try Samosa Chaat ($118) almost everytime I see it on the menu. Veda’s version has a potato samosa base and is topped with tamarind, yoghurt chutney, and pomegranate. It’s quite good though the crust of the samosa was a bit tough to break and some may be left wanting more sauce (I would have liked 30% more sauce!).
The Paneer Tikka “Escabeche” ($138, gluten free) is a standout. I could have easily eaten the whole dish and it may have been our table favourite. A chunk of paneer is marinated in a smoked paprika escabeche marinade and then grilled before being topped with a buttery makhani curry. Grilling the paneer before saucing it makes a huge difference — my first time having a paneer curry this way.
Another hit was the Panang “Dry” Tofu ($138) where seared tofu is topped with a sticky-sweet sauce, peanuts, shallots and coriander. This is quite a simple dish, sounding more complicated than it tastes. It’s not very spicy or unusual but is satisfying.
The Black Dhal was served with blue cheese kulcha ($148). Never have I ever had blue cheese with Indian food before but my eyes have been opened… to having it with Veda’s black dhal at least. The strong, pungent cheese enhanced the creamy and sweet notes in the dhal. Be warned: this is not a light dish, but one worth the indulgence.
How beautiful is the White Asparagus ($198, vegan)? The stems had a slight vinegar-y note and were served on a bed of smoky, spicy eggplant bharta and served with corn roti. There are a lot of different flavours going on with this dish. I think it’s interesting enough — and hearty enough given the roti — to be a solid main for one.
We ended the meal with G’Jam Cake ($95). The team have turned gulab jamun into a cake (we hear it’s the founder’s family recipe), soaking it in saffron sugar syrup before serving it with a milk-caramel-like rabri sauce and topping it with pistachios and almonds. Wonderful.
In addition to the food, our group tried a number of cocktails. I stuck with a glass of Prosecco ($90) but others also enjoyed their creative cocktails such as the hefty Testarossa ($130) with Amaro Montenegro, Fernet Branca, Borghetti, Carpano Classico, and Aperol and classic cocktails like the Bee’s Knees ($100) with gin, honey and lemon juice.
I really enjoyed my first visit to Veda and would definitely go back. The food is delicious, the prices are very fair, the space is cute, and the service is solid — checks all the boxes.
2 Arbuthnot Rd, Central, 3755 3067