VEA is a new modern French restaurant and lounge by Chef Vicky Cheng, who was the ex-exeuctive chef at Liberty Private Works before opening VEA. Had been trained under some famous chefs such as Jason Bangerter of Auberge du Pommier and Anthony Walsh of Canoe in Toronto, and also Daniel Boulud of the Michelin-starred Restaurant Daniel in New York, Chef Vicky believe that creativity and artistry are just two words that barely describe his philosophy. VEA is also rewarded 2016 CNN top 10 new restaurants in Hong Kong.
Address: Vea, 29/F – 30/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central
Hours: Monday-Sat 6:45pm~ (restaruant)
Cost: 8-course Chef’s Menu $1280+, Cocktail or Wine Pairing for additional HK$680
VEA is a two-storey restaurant and lounge – a lounge on 29F that opens till from 5pm till midnight, and a restaurant on 30F which deliveries a eight-course tasting menu which nicely showcases Chef Vicky’s local roots and his skilled French culinary techniques.
I visited the restaurant on 30F, which was a quite unique and memorable dining experience at VEA.
A beautiful spread of cookies was already ready on the table before the guests arrive. The tree sticks, leafs and flowers were all edible.
A wet napkin with a tube of rose water was served before another few snacks arrive the table. The first snack was a cigarette filled with garlic bread dough.
The second snack was crispy and buttery tart with fresh sea urchin, truffle and caviar. My favourite among the three snacks was the smoked quail eggs served in a lovely ‘nest’, the egg has an aromatic smokey flavour and a perfect oozing yolk.
The first dish was a beautiful tuna tartar topped with sea urchin, French chili peppers, edible flowers and leaves and cucumber jelly. The tartare itself was well-flavoured with a hint of spice, with some rice crips on the bottom to bring a crispy texture. Covered with a thin layer of burnt cucumber jelly to add a refreshing twist, the entire combination was enjoyable.
A small ‘frozen nougat’ of bite-size poached pear was served with the tuna tartare to cleanse the palate and ready for next dish.
To follow up, another dish which was too pretty to eat arrives. On the bottom, you will find lightly smoked Spanish mackerel which was bathing in a kiwi broth and basil oil. The innovative ‘maki’ (sushi roll) on the top was made of jelly fish and flowers. I liked the creamy and flavourful Spanish mackerel which balanced well with the refreshing kiwi broth and crispy jellyfish roll. Quite strongly Asian-infused dish which served with chopsticks (seems a trend recently).
It is rarely to have a dish with an entire sea cucumber except in Chinese cuisines. Here at VEA, Chef Vicky uses Japanese sea cucumber and cooked it in abalone juice to give it a Cantonese flavour, and stuffed sea lettuce. The white asparagus on the side was fresh and tender, paired with 5 kinds of Japanese Kombu seaweed to enhance the crispy texture and oceanic flavors.
My favourite dish of the night was Chef Vicky’s signature spinach ravioli in a bath of creamy parseman cheese sauce. The ravioli itself was lovely, the textures and flavours were nothing but dreamy with the pairing of a perfectly runny egg yolk and a scope of caviar on the top. On the side, a homemade black truffle ‘you tiao’ (Chinese fried dough) was served to whip up the delicious sauce of cheese and yolk. Chef Vicky had been woke up at 5am in the morning for a long time before he opened VEA, just for learning techniques for the perfect ‘you tiao’ from experts at local street stalls.
The first main dish was roasted chicken with its skin, stuffed with rich foie gras. Underneath, you will fine a puree of celery root and black truffle, and finish with drizzles of truffle-infused chicken broth sauce.
To replace the braised pork which i don’t eat, Chef Vicky used the black cod cooking with same techniques for me. The concept of this dish comes from the traditional Chinese dish braised pork with persevered vegetable called ‘mui choy’ (梅菜扣肉). The fish was pretty succulent, the pairing mui choy puree on the bottom made me a bit home-sick.
The dessert part was another highlight of the meal. I thought it won’t be tasty when the first dessert was served, because that’s what happen to most pretty desserts. In the plate you may find strawberry yogurt, meringue and ice cream, as well as beet root and rosemary sorbet. The pastry chef made the hydro-strawberry meringue in from of us and the entire dish was nothing but beautiful. This was a more impressive dessert i recently had.
The second dessert was seriously too cute to eat. Featured meringue and ice cream made of local honey, and garnished with edamame puree and miso crumbles. I am quite scared to see meringue in my dish especially such a huge one because a lot of restaurants made it too sweet for my liking, but this one was surprisingly good. Very delicious with honey ice cream and the savoury miso crumbles to balance the naturally sweet flavours.
Pig symbolised good luck and wealth in the Chinese culture. This was my first meal of this Hong Kong trip, it is so sweet of VEA team to prepare a complimentary piggy chocolate for me.
Lastly, a sphere of mignardises was served with cup of coffee/tea. The test tube again arrived table but this time, it was a combination of rose marshmallow and lychee juice on the side. The sphere include three trays of macaron and chocolate, mocha and medeleines respectively.
Fine dining at a counter with a view of the kitchen is not that common in Hong Kong compare to Japan, i really loved the concept of VEA and all the dishes are freshly prepared in front of you. It was a great fun to see everyone in the team corporate well with each other. The dishes were all beautifully done, and i can see chef’s own thoughts inside the food. Each dish was flawless and the ravioli and desserts were quite stand out. A lovely place you should not miss.