NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong turned out to be more than just a place to have a great vegan dinner. Not only was it one of our all time favourite vegan dining experiences, but every dish that we ate really got us talking.
We’re not sure if it was either the use of the fusion of flavours from Japan and Peru (NOBU is famous for this) or the total deliciousness of the food in front of us, but we just couldn’t stop talking about what we ate.
It was attention-grabbingly good.
Before we tell you about the food though, let’s take a minute to set the scene in the restaurant. For a start, the views from the restaurant are second to none, with the famous Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island skyline forming nothing short of a dynamic and captivating backdrop. Huge floor to ceiling glass windows give you a an ever changing view of life outside as you eat. Inside, the design is inspired by the ocean featuring a ceiling patterned with sea urchin shells. There are also well integrated traditional Japanese elements (like the black river stones framing a huge image of cherry blossom at the bar).
The atmosphere was upbeat and busy, the service efficient and friendly including a personal appearance from Executive Chef Sean Mell whose passion for food was clear. We loved his positive attitude towards cooking for vegans and his commitment to farm-to-table food (and of course the menu he designed for us).
The Vegan Food:
It didn’t take long for our first course to arrive, an ‘Avocado Tartar with Vegetarian Caviar’ served on ice in a cute glass. The vegetarian caviar was made from black quinoa, a lovely example of the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian ingredients that is unique to NOBU. The avocado was deliciously creamy and was the perfect balance to the sharp citrus flavours from the yuzu dressing.
Next we had ‘New Style Vegetables with Truffle, Tomato and Asparagus’, a dish that gave little away on the menu but was full of interesting flavours on the plate. A dressing of olive and sesame oils with chives, soy sauce, yuzu, truffle shavings, ginger slithers and sesame seeds, marinating chilled asparagus and tomato. The aromas, the salty and toasty tastes; a truly delicious way to eat simple fresh ingredients.
Nobu InterContinental Hong Kong has its roots a Japanese restaurant and so we weren’t surprised to receive ‘Vegetable Sushi Assortment’. We were however, pleasantly surprised, if not a little taken aback, by the flavours that we sampled as we ate our way along the plate. Meaty mushroom, salty pickled radish, a tart, sweet and crunchy fresh ginger flower for our final mouthful. This was like a mini-food adventure, a wonderful exploration of food, full of different taste sensations.
After our sushi adventure a small mountain of tempura arrived, a total crowd pleaser in our book. Firstly it consisted of slabs of firm tofu and wedges of pumpkin in a light, crispy and clean tasting batter. We decided there and then that if you are going to eat fried food then it should always be like this. Secondly, it was accompanied by a fresh salad and a homemade rice wine vinegar, soy and citrus dressing which just happened to go perfectly. Finally, new levels of decadent indulgence were reached as we worked our way through the generous, hearty and delicious dish. Oh yes, this ‘Cripy Tofu, Amazu Ponzu’ was heavenly indeed.
The next course consisted of some sweetly and richly marinated aubergine sprinkled with sesame. The marinade was almost toffee-like, but lighter, and there was a tart pickled ginger flower to balance out the sweetness. The aubergine flesh was delightfully juicy and succulent, definitely a dish to challenge any critic who claims vegan food is bland. We could happily eat giant platefuls of this aubergine and drift into food paradise.
We could hear and smell our next course before it arrived with a wonderful smelling cloud of fragrant steam sizzlingly from the hot cast iron dish. The South American chilli sauce was punchy with sour, smokey, zingy and spicy flavours covering the just-cooked veg. It was like being suddenly transported to a different part of the world but by a stroke of culinary genius, the flavours were still in perfect harmony with the menu. Mmmm…
A light and clear ‘Seasonal Mushroom Udon’ soup provided the end to savoury part of our meal, dusted with schichimi (a seven ingredient Japanese chilli powder) and full of mushrooms floating in a soothing broth. So simple, so easy to eat and full of tender, slippery noodles; this was a bowl of noodle soup to warm anyone’s heart.
And so it was time for our last course, ‘Crystal Fruit Pearls, Yamamomo Sorbet’, a pretty looking picture of a dessert. The yamamomo sorbet was refreshing as expected but it was the crystal fruit pearls that were truly astonishing to eat. They produced tiny explosions as they popped, filling our mouths with tasty fruity liquid. Even when we knew it was coming, these little explosions still made us jump and smile. The combination of the little pearls popping and cool fruit liquid inside was nothing short of wonderful. If you eat this dessert and it doesn’t make you smile then there is probably something wrong with you.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Make a reservation at NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong for a vegan meal to delight. Eat dishes that are plentiful in size, fun and most importantly taste. Enjoy the mix of flavours from traditional Japanese and Peruvian cuisines, brought together to create a menu that will leave you talking about your food for time to come.
We were guests of NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong
18 Salisbury Road,
Telephone: +852 2313 2323
Lunch – 12:00 noon to 2:30pm
Dinner – 6:00pm to 11:00pm