Hong Kong is a city of food lovers, a city of luxury and home to the two Michelin starred Yan Toh Heen at the established 5 star waterfront hotel, InterContinental Hong Kong.
The recently renovated restaurant has a fresh, contemporary feel with accents of elegant Chinese decor, but history has been preserved with features such as the restaurant entrance way which is made from the original jade placemats and napkin rings, used and loved by diners during the previous 32 years of service.
Jade (a sign of qualities such as nobility, grace and beauty in Chinese culture) continues to be used throughout the restaurant, with elegant room dividers inspired by birdcages and newly designed place settings featuring the precious stone.
Traditional music plays in the background and there’s a buzz in the restaurant which is full of people enjoying their food; delicious smells waft over from our neighbours and as we look out onto Victoria Harbour, our special prepared vegan menus in hand, our anticipation builds.
Service is smooth, friendly, seamless, efficient and always with a smile. Our vegan lunch menu has already been prepared in advance, encased in a crisp folder whose design replicates the green jade squares of the table settings.
The Vegan Food:
We begin by meeting Kelvin, award winning tea sommelier who recommends ‘Phoenix Osmanthus’, a semi fermented Oolong Tea which is said to aid digestion. He pours the pale liquor which has a sweet aroma and a clean, pure taste, into double walled glass cups, a ritual that never seems to end throughout our meal as our cups are kept permanently topped up with warm soothing tea.
Our first course is ‘Chefs DIm Sum Selection’ consisting of 3 different varieties of dim sum delicately presented on a square platter. There’s a steamed vegetable dumpling filled with assorted matsutake mushrooms with yellow fungus, crispy tofu sheet roll stuffed with mushrooms and vegetables and a steamed mushroom and pumpkin dumpling.
They come with 4 different sauces including a sticky soy based sauce, plum sauce and two fresh chilli sauces that add a good bit of spice to our dim sum.
The next dish is ‘Wok-fried Assorted Vegetables with Lettuce Wraps’, a verson of a traditionally meat based dish. We have a selection of vegetables including beans, sweetcorn and sugar snap peas which are satisfyingly crunchy, as well light crisped vermicelli rice noodles, all waiting to have plum sauce added and then be rolled up to be eaten. The layers of lettuce and the vegetable filling make this a refreshing and light course.
As our waiters present our next course, we enjoy the theatre of the service as they co-ordinate removing the silver cloches so we all see and smell our food simultaneously.
‘Braised Tofu with Fungus served in a Casserole’ has a rich gravy covering different varieties of mushrooms and pieces of tofu that are custardy on the inside with a fried skin on the outside. They melt in the mouth when eaten and work particularly well with the gravy.
‘Wok-fried Broccoli with Cashew Nuts in Chili Sauce’ is a simple vegetable dish full of toasted cashews with a mildly spicy chilli sauce. The ingredients are good quality and fresh as you would expect, with the broccoli florets acting like little sponges, soaking up the subtle chilli flavoured sauce.
‘Fried Rice Noodles with Assorted Vegetables and Mushrooms’ was our last savoury course to this light, plant based lunch. A vegetable, mushroom and noodle mix with light soy flavours; a traditional Cantonese dish delivered with world class service.
The final course to our meal was a ‘Fresh Fruit on a Snow Mountain’, a giant centrepiece of crushed ice formed into a pyramid in the centre of our table with slices of fresh seasonal fruit pushed into the ice. This was a fun and creative way to serve a simple fruit offering at the end of a meal.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Make a reservation at Yan Toh Heen to experience their acclaimed two Michelin starred service and eat traditional Cantonese food made from the freshest, plant based ingredients. Enjoy the ambience and surroundings as you work your way through a light, healthy lunch with one of the best views of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Don’t forget to make the most of their award winning tea sommelier and sample the very finest Chinese teas.
We were guests of Yan Toh Heen but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Yan Toh Heen
18 Salisbury Road,
Telephone: +852 2313 2323
Opening Hours: Lunch 1200-1430 & Dinner 1800-2300