Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Review: VEA Restaurant & Lounge in Central – creative, well-presented dishes

You don’t have any choice of dishes, but the Japanese-influenced eight-course set meal showed the chefs pay great attention to the look and taste of the food they serve

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 April, 2016, 12:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 June, 2016, 5:28pm

We were in two minds about our seats at VEA Restaurant & Lounge. My guest had requested one of the cosy tables, but because there were only two of us we were seated at the counter on high chairs that, while comfortable, were difficult to get in and out of. However, we could watch the chefs at work and the bartender mixing drinks.

The only option here is an eight-course set meal for HK$1,280 plus 10 per cent; you can also have a cocktail or wine pairing for an additional HK$680. The meal starts with several snacks that include a whimsical and delicious quail egg with applewood smoke and Japanese vinegar.

Tuna tartare with Hokkaido uni, burnt cucumber jelly and white wine marinated grape pearls was decorated with flowers – it was a lovely presentation, and a great first course. Slices of Spanish mackerel came with a refreshing star fruit juice with peppery nasturtium leaves. Tender abalone was served over risotto that was creamy from the addition of abalone liver and shirako, with a clear red onion sauce, pickled goji berries and kinome (sansho leaves).

A delicious slice of guinea fowl roulade with smoked foie gras was laid over celeriac purée, with an intense sauce made from the bird’s bones and black truffle. The lamb course was a modern take on the classic Cantonese winter hotpot but instead of cooking everything together, the lamb loin was seared to medium rare, bean curd skin was wrapped around braised lamb, the water chestnuts were pickled, the bamboo shoot was grilled, and the fermented bean curd was used to decorate the plate.

The only savoury course I disliked was the heavy spinach and Japanese egg raviolo with parmesan cheese foam, black caviar and a black truffle yau ja gwai (Chinese fried cruller) that was too hard and oily.

We loved the creative desserts: milk jam ice cream with grated salted duck yolk and crisp quinoa, and a beautiful, complex beetroot and strawberry dessert that had beetroot custard roses, rosemary sable biscuits and strawberry and rose snow.

VEA Restaurant & Lounge, 29/F (lounge) and 30/F (restaurant), The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2711 8639. HK$1,280 plus 10 per cent