What with it being the week leading up to the Rugby 7s which is always a ridiculous weekend where you simply cannot avoid drinking far too much and eating far too unhealthily, I had been trying my utmost to prepare for this by NOT drinking at all, and eating as healthily as I could without limiting myself to rabbit fodder… at least for a couple of days. So when planning a lunch date with a friend who is also of the same mind set, we had to take this into consideration. She suggested trying Veggie SF, which I admittedly had never heard of and therefore jumped at the idea so that I could kill two birds with one stone: my ever-present hunger and the need to try a new restaurant.
It’s located on Stanley Street in what I think is one of the most amazing buildings in HK. Not looks-wise. In fact I have no idea what it actually looks like from the outside as I’m always way too eager to get INside. But because of the fact that most of the building seems to be dedicated to just restaurants! A-MAZ-ING.
As soon as you step out of the lift on the 10th floor, you are immediately catapulted not only to an American diner, but also to the 1950s. I’ve never been to San Francisco, but that is the style it is going for, and according to people who have been there, it hits the nail bang on the head. Obviously I’ve never been to the 1950s either but… you know what I mean. There are car license plates, road signs, American flags and all sorts of retro bits and bobs on the walls. What I particularly liked was the mismatched chairs and stools which give it a really laid back feel and make you feel like you could actually be in someone’s home. It’s not too big either so has that kind of cosy feel to it.
I checked it out online first (obviously) and YES they do have a website! We’re starting strongly here, first two restos both have websites! The website actually shows pictures of some delicious looking meals (all vegetarian of course, but still yummy-looking) such as home-made veggie wanton with pumpkin sauce or a rather interestingly named rainbow bimbimbap (huh?!) but I’m not sure where they were on the menu. Definitely weren’t on the one we were offered, so I’m guessing either they didn’t like us or there’s a different evening menu. What we were offered was a double-sided menu with the set lunches on one side and the side dishes on the other. We wanted to have a soup each and a selection of side dishes to share, tapas style, but apparently this is not allowed. Sergeant waitress told us we had to have a minimum of one set lunch each (does anyone seriously order more than one?!) and then you’re allowed to order side dishes. I’ve lived here long enough to understand that this is not only this particular restaurant’s rules, but in fact, HK rules. If something isn’t on the menu it’s “No. Cannot. Sorry.” End of story. So we opted for the “Light Combo” kicking off with a broccoli soup which at first sight appeared somewhat watery and…green, but actually rather pleased my taste buds. We were then served some delicious warm seeded bread with pesto, which tasted scrumptiously home-made. I’m sure bread is usually served WITH soup, not after it, but the pesto was too good to complain. A little on the salty side but still wonderful. The star of the show was the garden salad featuring lettuce, raisins, cashew nuts, beetroot and cherry tomatoes in what they call a “mysterious dressing”. I assumed that given that title, it would be a secret recipe but was told straight out that it is a balsamic and honey dressing. I personally usually prefer my salads naked (actually, what am I saying? I rarely actually even opt for a salad) but rather enjoyed this mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious dressing. As we ordered the set lunch and we were then “allowed” a side dish, we chose the curry veggie balls. They lied to us on two accounts here though: 1. The waitress told us they were made of vegetables, which was not strictly true as it was some kind of tofu, and 2. the menu states eight pieces but we were only given six. This was more than enough though as, even though the curry sauce was delicious, the actual veggie ball when bitten into had the texture of a frankfurter which is possibly my least favourite type of sausage. I gave it a second and third chance but will definitely never give it a fourth.
Overall opinion on the food: it was fine but not wowee delish. I’d definitely go back though as I’m keen to try the yummy looking dishes which I never got the chance to order. At the very least I need to find out what a bimbimbap is! Maybe for dinner they aren’t so strict on the set menu – who knows. Total bill cost was $207. Bargain.
Great ambience and something a little different to your average vegetarian restaurant. One thing I must mention about this place is that along with herbal teas and other healthy fixes, they sell some really sweet vintage handbags and vintage jewellery. Wouldn’t necessarily wear much of the jewellery but it’s such a lovely idea and it reminded me of my favourite bar in Bath which sells all sorts of vintage knick-knacks. I miss you, Opium!
10/F Stanley 11
11 Stanley Street
Tel: +852 3902 3902
Date visited: Tuesday 22nd March 2011