[Hong Kong] VEA - Back at One of My Favorite Restaurants
I went back to one of my favorite restaurant in Hong Kong recently after traveling abroad, and since my first visit last year, VEA has been awarded 1 Michelin star and featured in the Diners Club 50 Best Discovery Series! I'm so glad that Chef Vicky Cheng is getting the recognition that he deserves for his creative "Chinese x French" cuisine and I'm always looking forward to trying his new dishes to see what Chinese ingredients he's incorporating next.
As it was winter, there were some savory snacks placed on our table already with a cute Marshmallow Snowman made with goat cheese and caramelized onions as well as a garlic snow flake cracker and nori (seaweed) grissini with vinegar snow.
The Smoked Quail Eggs was a delicious and aromatic dish we had tried before.
The Hairy Crab Tart with crab roe, ginger and vinegar was a creative rendition of a well-loved Chinese delicacy and surprisingly it worked by encompassing all the flavors you'd expect from eating hairy crab in the traditional way.
The Asian Salad was a dedication from the chef to his wife who gave up her dream to be a florist to build their family and not only was it a sweet tribute, the salad was refreshing to eat as well.
The set menu changes one dish each week with the exception of a few dishes and one of them is the TUNA with sea urchin, espelette and burnt cucumber jelly.
The "LIFE IN THE JUNGLE" with flowery crab brandade, leek ash, black garlic meringues and cured sardine while the pond in the middle is made of clarified tomato water with a few droplets of shiso oil. What an impressive presentation and a rare treat given this is usually only available as a special upgrade in the private dining room!
The SEA CUCUMBER with langoustine, butternut squash and sauerkraut arrived as a slight variation from last time but equally delightful in its own ways.
The EGG with truffle, parmesan and caviar is another heavenly staple on the set menu.
The WILD DUCK with bitter melon, salted duck egg, peach had a myriad of flavors and besides the wild duck which had been smoked in earl grey tea for one week and grilled over binchotan, I was also enamored with the bitter melon topped with a crispy salted duck egg crust on the side. The sauce is sweet and sour - just like the sauce you eat with a Chinese roast goose.
VENISON with Yunnan ham, Jerusalem artichoke and Sichuan pepper
For our first dessert, we got to choose from 6 different types of strawberries from Japan and Korea. In a way this was like a cheese course but instead of choosing your own cheese, you get to choose your own strawberry. Each type had its own flavor profile from sweetness to floral and even citrusy. I ended up choosing the famous white strawberry from Japan which was then washed and placed on the dessert.
STRAWBERRY with cheesecake, yogurt, almond - I liked how the cheesecake and yogurt were in the shape of a strawberry and as advised, the white strawberry was not as juicy as other strawberries but had purer flavors.
The second dessert at VEA always has an element of savoriness and the CHINESE OLIVE with burnt milk, jujube and coconut turned out to be a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. The Chinese olive flavors reminded J of snacks given to him as a kid from his grandmother and being hit with unexpected pangs of nostalgia is one of the best things about eating here for someone with a history and understanding of Chinese cuisine.
Sweet ending of MIGNARDISES with condensed milk mochi, cherry foie gras tart, black sesame tong yuan macaron and orange & earl grey madeleine.
Thank you Chef Vicky Cheng for a wonderful evening - we can't wait to be back soon!
VEA Restaurant & Lounge
29/F-30/F, The Wellington
198 Wellington Street, CentralTel: +852 2711 8639
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