Health and wellness

Vegan five-course set menu full of autumn flavours at Arcane in Central is a feast for the taste buds

Chef Shane Osborn’s autumn-themed vegan meal features a range of top-quality ingredients and is set to get even more interesting as more vegetables come into season

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 September, 2018, 2:48pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 September, 2018, 2:47pm

What is Shane Osborn’s strategy for staying healthy into old age? Eat more vegetables.

The owner and head chef of Arcane in Central doesn’t cut out meat completely, but eats it just once a week; on the other days he dines only on fish and vegetables.

However, on Sundays he goes completely vegan.

At his one-Michelin-star restaurant he is coming across more customers with a similar mindset.

“We were already doing vegetarian dishes for two to three years, and we starting having more vegans coming in,” Osborn says. “So I decided to do a set menu for vegans to make it special.”

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He explains that with autumn coming the dishes will become more interesting thanks to the types of root vegetables that will become available.

“It’s not just about being creative with vegan and vegetarian dishes, it’s about the quality of the ingredients,” he says. “In Italy and France you can get beautiful ripe tomatoes and they only need some olive oil and salt. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.”

Priced at HK$750 per person, the five-course vegan set menu starts with segments of ripe Japanese fruit tomato artfully arranged with diced courgette, basil and olive oil that successfully whetted our appetites.

Then there was a lovely dish of crapaudine beetroots, one of the oldest beetroot varieties dating back 1,000 years. Deep maroon in colour, the beetroots were dressed in aged balsamic vinegar and perked up with cornichons and sunflower seeds for a bit of crunch, with a seasoning of smoked olive oil. The result was both divine and very colourful.

Next came a warm salad featuring an interesting combination of pan-fried daikoku shimeji – Japanese “meaty” mushrooms – with cashew butter, celeriac and charred cabbage. The dish was quite substantial and, topped with thinly shaved black truffles, had a nice pungent aroma.

The main course had an autumnal theme and consisted of handmade rigatoni with broccolini, pine nuts, fried garlic and girolles (or chanterelle mushrooms). It was a hearty dish with lots of different textures, the pine nuts especially adding a welcome crunch.

The meal ended on a fruity note – nectavignes (nectarines with red-coloured flesh) sitting in a strawberry consomme topped with apricot kernel Chantilly and a toasted meringue made from aquafaba, the water used in canned chickpeas. The meringue was light like the egg-white version though not as sweet – a good thing in my opinion.

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Arcane, 3/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, tel: 2728 0178