Address: G/F, 35 Staunton Street, SOHO, Central 中環蘇豪士丹頓街35號地下
Telephone: 2960 9222
I don’t mind a restaurant using fancy or elaborate cooking methods to prepare their dishes, as long as you can still detect the natural taste of the ingredients in them. That is why I personally prefer vegetarian restaurants that embrace the true taste of vegetables, as opposed to those that try hard to disguise the lack of meat, for example through making fake meats, using heavy seasoning or deep frying the food. My two favourite veggie eateries in Hong Kong are Mana! (I have written one review here, even though I go there pretty much once a week on average!) and Grassroots Pantry. Recently, I discovered The Herbivores in Soho, which turned out to be pretty awesome too!
The Herbivores has a homely and cosy decor, with menus scribbled on large black boards hanging on its walls and a wooden communal table right in the middle of the dining area. Even though a small establishment, The Herbivores has a strong team behind it: a few of the chefs used to work at ROKA, and their pastry chef, Wendy, trained at a cooking school in France. Dinner, at around $400 per head, is a bit pricey, but the restaurant offers a good value Weekday Lunch set at $128 (with one salad or soup, one main course and a drink) and a Weekend Veggie Brunch at $128 (one main course, one dessert & a drink).
I tried the restaurant’s vegetarian Afternoon Tea Set, at $228 for two persons, which was my first vegetarian afternoon tea ever! The tea set is a collaboration with the Green Monday Association, an organisation that promotes a green lifestyle, and HK$10 from each tea set will be donated to the organisation.
The Mini Daily soup was a carrot ginger soup, and it was thick and warming, with the natural sweetness of carrots complemented by a gentle kick of ginger; it was a good way to start the afternoon tea. Wheat bread was used in the asparagus roll, which was a healthy alternative to white bread rarely used in other tea sets. The asparagus was deliciously soft without losing completely losing its crunch.
The ex-ROKA chefs put their Japanese cooking skills to good use and produced some Shitake skewers that were minimalistically seasoned but bursting with juices and flavours.
The Avocado & tomato sandwich looked simplistic, but in fact had a very creamy and tasty avocado filling.
Prepared by Wendy, the pastry chef who trained in France, the Financier with raspberry and the French canelles certainly did not disappoint – both were precise in texture, and tasted delightful.
The Creme caramel tasted attractive, but would have been even better if it was smoother in texture.
The Vanilla Mango Tart had a thin and crispy pastry base and was topped with a generous amount of scrumptious vanilla cream, which paired with the slices of mango beautifully.
The tea set comes with one drink for each person, and we ordered a Yellow Submarine (normally at $58), a cold drink made with mango, coconut and a dash of Yakult. It was fruity and smooth, and wasn’t too sweet at all.
The manager recommended Meditation (normally at $58), made with cucumber, lemon and white grape juice. It was a light and refreshing drink, and the outstanding taste of white grapes was particularly refreshing.
For a boost in the afternoon, I also ordered a cup of hot latte and the coffee, which I was told had been made from ground Italian coffee beans, was fine and aromatic.
Conclusion: The service was friendly and polite, and I enjoyed every bite of my vegetarian tea set, which was refined, delectable and relatively healthy! I wished the venue was a bit more spacious, but other than that, I can see myself coming back to this restaurant already!