Hong Kong is home to an increasing number of restaurants that specialise in plant-based fare targeting vegans, vegetarians and those looking to incorporate more vegetables into their everyday diets. But when dining with flesh-eating friends, or looking to splurge on a special gastronomic experience, a number of the city's finest restaurants actually offer full, multi-course tasting menus that are as innovative as they are exquisite and cater to those keen to eschew animal products. Some require advance notice, while others have their plant-based selections all set up and ready to go, but all offer diners considered culinary journeys through unusual and memorable vegetable-based preparations.
Culinary Director Richard Ekkebus reframed the focus of Amber long before he unveiled the restaurant’s new direction in 2019 to prioritise lighter, more refined flavours above the rich foods of yesteryear. Vegetables, to him, have always been more interesting, holding infinite potential and his decision to bring more into the fine dining sphere was not based on the direction of culinary trends, but “because it makes sense in our contribution to the environment.” At Amber, the tasting menu experience for vegetarians—and even vegans, by request—is by no means an afterthought, but a carefully considered journey that presents delicious surprises along the way in the form of intense nut oils, piquant berries and umami-packed mushrooms. His signature corn dish with salicornia, seawater and sudachi is, arguably, even more refined without the addition of caviar on the non-vegetarian menu. Other dishes such as XL white asparagus with morel, ratte potato, salted egg yolk, dill and extra virgin sunflower oil, offer a lesson in elegance.