Header image courtesy of @frescahk (via Instagram)
What’s better than savouring on a delectable feast of nourishing whole foods? Perhaps doing so while knowing that you’re looking out for Mother Earth! With the growing number of restaurants around the city ditching single-use plastic cutlery for eco-friendly alternatives, offering vegetarian menus, and embracing farm-to-table dining, sustainability has become an unstoppable trend in recent years—and one that we can wholeheartedly get behind. If you are looking to eat a little eco-friendlier and live a little greener, here are some of the city’s best sustainable restaurants and bars to pop into!
Hong Kong-based Dutch chef Richard Ekkebus has slowly but surely shaken up the French fine-dining scene with his progressive ethos of ethical gastronomy. From getting rid of plastic straws five years ago to consciously sourcing sustainable ingredients and phasing out dairy and gluten from its menu, Amber has evolved its business model over the years to become one of Asia's leading champions of eco-friendly dining, even bagging this year’s Sustainable Restaurant Award at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants!
The Hokkaido sea urchin and Kagoshima Wagyu beef are the signature items at Amber, but the full vegetarian experience ($1,450) is no less enticing. Featuring the likes of heirloom beetroot, matsutake mushroom, and Jerusalem artichoke, the colourful veggie-forward dishes are exquisitely prepared to ensure a taste of contemporary French cuisine at its finest—vegetarian or otherwise!
Amber, 7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central | (+852) 2132 0066
Who says you need deep pockets to eat sustainably? Case in point: This hidden gem in Tai Po serves up low-carbon, vegetarian lunch sets for just $60 (and $45 for light meals)! Dedicated to minimising carbon footprints and promoting mindful eating, this laid-back restaurant occupying the former Tai Po Police Station prides itself on using seasonal, fairly traded, and locally sourced ingredients. And they weren’t kidding when they said they emphasise farm-to-fork freshness—just a few metres away from the canteen is a lovely kitchen garden that supplies all the herbs and a portion of the vegetables that end up on your plate. Their menu changes seasonally but we say look out for the moreish chickpea falafel and the red rice with pesto sauce. Feeling indulgent? Round off your meal with a slice of raw lime ginger pie ($30) or some raw matcha truffles ($30)!
Eat Well Canteen, Old Tai Po Police Station, 11 Wan Tau Kok Lane, Tai Po | (+852) 2996 2800
Open only on Fridays and the weekends, this vegetarian restaurant nestled in the quiet New Territories countryside beckons diners to tuck into organic homegrown food on its homely outdoor terrace amid fresh air and verdant surroundings. You won’t find a printed menu at O Veg, as the talented chef designs a new multi-course meal at the fixed price of $300 every day to keep customers on their toes. Thanks to their daily harvest of fresh produce from the nearby organic farms in Kam Tin, you can trust that whatever drool-worthy vegetarian eats gets served on your plate will be of superior quality and taste. Just be sure to make your reservations ahead of time—their dining experiences get booked up fast!
O Veg, G/F, 53 Tai Kong Po, Kam Tin, Yuen Long | (+852) 2893 3037
Spearheading Hong Kong’s sustainable dining movement since 2012, Mana! enthrals meat and veggie diners alike with its fast-food-style dishes that are made with wholesome, plant-based ingredients. You can find everything from salads and soups to burgers, fries, and pizzas at this vegetarian joint, but we can’t get enough of their Manajoy flatbread ($90) and classic burger ($90). It sounds too good to be true—but yes, it is possible to change the world and make a positive impact on the environment one burger at a time! Once you are done with your meal, head over to the classified waste bin area, where all your food packaging and leftovers are collected and converted into soil-enriching compost.
Less than a minute’s walk away from the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator, this neighbourhood café has been a go-to spot for conscious eaters for over five years. Fresca updates its menu of salads, soups, and gluten-free baked goods daily, but what stays the same is its consistently fresh, healthy, and delicious fare. And it’s no mystery as to why—much of their produce is harvested from a private homegrown farm, where plants are lovingly fed with pure mountain water and natural compost. Customers can take comfort in knowing that when they dine at Fresca, they are not only nourishing the body and soul with wholesome food but also supporting a local business with one of the smallest reduce carbon footprints in the industry!
Fresca, 54A Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2770 2282
The mastermind behind this plant-based grocery-store-cum-restaurant is none other than the founder and CEO of Green Monday, David Yeung, who is one of the city’s most prominent advocates for a sustainable, plant-based lifestyle. Aiming to make veganism more accessible and approachable to the meat-consuming masses, Kind Kitchen showcases an eclectic menu that ranges from classic Western staples like spaghetti Bolognese ($88) and hot dogs ($88) to Hong Kong comfort eats like spicy dumplings ($25) and Portuguese-style rice ($98), and even Southeast Asian dishes like laksa ($98) and phở ($98). With so many tasty options set at fairly reasonable prices, there really is no excuse not to give healthy, conscious eating a try.
Kind Kitchen, Shop 1, 1/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Central | (+852) 2110 0055
Stylish, modern bars in Central are a dime a dozen, but Penicillin is the first of its kind to operate an environmentally-conscious, closed-loop production model that brings patrons a unique farm-to-bar experience. Local bar legends Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale work their magic behind the stick in the bar’s white-tiled, apothecary-style kitchen lab, taking all the fermentation and mixing in-house and upcycling scraps and offcuts in creative ways whenever possible. Better yet, their cocktails are served up using locally foraged ingredients, like honey from Sha Tin’s Wing Wo Bee Farm, so fresh drinks bursting with vibrant flavour combinations are always guaranteed!
Penicillin, L/G, 23 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 9880 7995