Increasing numbers of people believe that protein in our diets does not have to come from slaughtered animals. The result of this lifestyle choice is a growing number of vegetarians - who may or may not consume certain protein and dairy products - and vegans - who adhere to a strict vegetable protein diet. Given these sensibilities, Brasserie On The Eighth and Nicholini's, both at the Conrad Hong Kong, feature balanced menus, says food and beverage director Giovanni Viterale. 'Some people are not strictly vegetarian, while others may be. Either way, we offer them a varied menu so they can choose dishes without meat,' Mr Viterale says. A favourite with diners is mushroom millefeuille with asparagus, mashed potatoes and tomato coulis (below). Another crowd pleaser is Nicholini's grilled vegetable primavera pasta that is laced with a simple tomato sauce, oil and garlic, or a white sauce. If you are a fan of risotto, choose the white asparagus with risotto, which is available these days (the delicate stalks are in season, but not for very long). Those with even lighter palates may want to try the salads: try a fresh garden salad of mixed greens, or add a vegetable cutlet for something more substantial. This is a mixture of tomato, zucchini and seasonings chopped finely and shaped into a cutlet before cooking, Mr Viterale says. Of course, some diners are not strictly vegetarian. There are always degrees of commitment, and some patrons will consume dairy products to compensate for lost protein as a result of meat abstention, while others will eat fish and shellfish. For diners in the latter category, Mr Viterale recommends a simple grilled shrimp or poached salmon. Other recommendations are eggplant parmigiana or timbale of aubergine; ratatouille on a bed of couscous with a simple basil and tomato sauce, or a slow-cooked cannellini bean soup served with a dash of extra virgin olive oil. Mr Viterale says: 'I eat this only at my mother's, and here.' Feeling peckish? Order the heartier potato, or ricotta and spinach, gnocchi, with a pungent tomato sauce.