Going out for a three-course dinner in Hong Kong has become less of a treasured luxury reserved for once a week, or even once a month; it is very easy to eat indulgent meals out more nights of the week than you eat in. This, however, not only takes its toll on your bank account, but also on your waistline. The Restaurant by the Kinnet in Sheung Wan, known for its healthy food that complements its wellness centre, has just launched two new set dinner menus that will solve this problem: a low-calorie menu and a low-carbohydrate menu, each priced at $238 for two courses, or $268 for three.
I have visited The Restaurant by the Kinnet a number of times, to try its selection of healthy salads from the counter at lunchtime, and to sample its a la carte dinner menu, both of which are surprisingly satisfying. On my most recent visit, I sampled selections from the two new dinner menus, which are both healthy without being boring.
The low-calorie menu, which indicates the number of calories in each dish, starts with a choice of a steamed tofu salad (207 kcal) or a grilled vegetable salad (146kcal). I normally wouldn’t be excited by a tofu salad, but this was actually delicious and creamy, served on a bed of crunchy asparagus, topped with a lovely shiso vinaigrette. The grilled vegetables with pesto, pine nuts and feta was very simple, but also tasty.
For main course, you can choose between seared halibut (285kcal), chicken paillard (330 kcal) or a vegetarian whole wheat spaghetti (350 kcal). The beautifully presented halibut was served on a white bean cauliflower cake, topped with a mizuna and tomato salad. I didn’t enjoy the white bean and cauliflower cake, which neither had much flavour, nor the right consistency, but the fish itself was perfect.
I had tried the chicken paillard on my previous visit, but preferred it much more this time. The chicken breast was lovely and tender, not in the least bit dry as it was the last time, and the mixed salad with Parmesan shavings was the perfect accompaniment.
I loved the presentation of the vanilla soufflé (133kcal) in a coffee cup, but wasn’t impressed by the dessert itself. Perhaps it was weighed down by the berries on top, but, within seconds of being served, you could visibly see it retreating into the cup. The top layer was also rather hard and chewy, not soft and light as a soufflé should be, but thankfully, underneath this, it did have a nice flavour.
Meanwhile, the low-carbohydrate menu (which doesn’t list any calorie counts), starts with a choice of a detox watercress salad or a chicken vegetable soup. I tried the former, which, although sounded rather dull, was surprisingly delicious, made with pear, spinach, walnuts, Parmesan and pomegranate, tossed in a light and refreshing coriander and yoghurt dressing.
Of the main courses, I sampled only the seared cod with warm tom yum salad, but there is also a vegetarian option and a chicken option. The cod was cooked to perfection, with a beautifully crispy skin, and I enjoyed the heat from the fiery salad.
Although the rose crème brûlée had a satisfyingly solid top layer that gave a nice crack when tapped with a spoon, I didn’t particularly enjoy the flavour of the dessert, as I found the rose a little too overpowering. Perhaps it would have been better as a classic vanilla crème brûlée…
We also sampled a selection of “healthy” desserts from the counter, of which the pandan chiffon cake and the flourless chocolate cake were the most impressive.
The Restaurant by the Kinnet continues to be high on my list of healthy restaurants in Hong Kong. I like the fact that it doesn’t try to preach too hard about healthy eating, or cut out particular foods, but serves real, wholesome and delicious dishes that are also better for us. Its salad counter draws in the crowds every lunchtime and I really hope its new set dinner menus will too.
The Restaurant by The Kinnet
3/F, 33 Hillier Street
Tel: +852 3968 7623