The selection of veggie restaurants in Hong Kong continues to expand, and while there are many fantastic vegetarian options, others leave much to be desired. This is particularly true for Chinese vegetarian restaurants, whose reliance on repetitive flavours and artificial meats is not always the most appealing.
Miss Lee, the latest addition to the ZS Hospitality repertoire, aims to change all that by showcasing traditional Chinese and Asian flavours using only natural vegetarian ingredients – no artificial meat in sight. Miss Lee is the health-conscious sister restaurant of Lee Lo Mei, serving not only vegetarian dishes but dishes that are vegan, egg free, gluten free, dairy free and Buddhist friendly too.
Miss Lee’s pink, green and yellow interior designed by JJ Acuna will catch your eye as soon as you enter. At first glance, Miss Lee may look like a traditional dumpling or noodle shop, but throughout your meal you’ll notice modern quirks such as minimalist artwork containing their logo, gold cutlery and veggie-shaped chopstick rests. Its retro, pop-art feel exudes good vibes.
While Miss Lee does offer a small selection of alcoholic beverages, the menu focuses on healthy beverages, with a wide range of homemade juices, fizzy drinks and smoothies. We tried Lime Strong ($35) and Green Ranger ($58). Lime Strong is made with fresh lime and chrysanthemum, and while refreshing, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Green Ranger, on the other hand, is a satisfying blend of fresh fruit and veg like lime, spinach, cucumber and apple.
Big fans of wordplay, we were pleased to see that the drink and à-la-carte menus make use of some world-class food puns. But how do these well-named dishes taste?
Our first dish was Flower Bouquet ($78), which resembles a hand roll containing pickled cucumber, beetroot, shiitake mushroom, carrot and cabbage. This is served with the chef’s homemade vegan sesame sauce, which is so good he should bottle and sell it. This colourful little roll had a complex range of flavours that we did not quite expect.
Misty Veil ($80) is Miss Lee’s take on Shanghainese gai see fun pei (cold shredded chicken with sesame sauce, noodles and cucumber). The chicken is replaced with king oyster and shiitake mushrooms, and honestly, as we bit into it, we genuinely forgot that we were not eating chicken. This dish could have done with a little chilli oil to elevate the taste.
This next dish wowed us. Floating Boat ($98) is a veggie spin on Thai lettuce wraps. Made with nothing more than chopped bean curd, Thai spices and lime, this unassuming dish had such amazing flavour and texture that by the end we were just eating it with a spoon.
If you can’t get enough salted egg yolk fish skin but realise its adverse health effects, Golden Flowers ($98) is a satisfying, slightly healthier alternative. Cauliflower is dipped in salted egg yolk and pumpkin purée alongside braised mushroom. If you love salted egg yolk and cauliflower, you can’t go wrong with this one.
The Amazing Maize ($98) salad already had points thanks to its name, but the dish itself looked a little bland – however, one should never judge solely with the eyes. The mixture of grilled sweetcorn, celtuce, carrot, black fungus, quinoa and sesame sauce was a light and refreshing addition to our meal. The quinoa added a lovely crunch.
Smoky Quartz ($80) is beautifully presented with woody fragrances that waft over the table. Unfortunately, the dish lacks substance and is merely a few skewers of mushroom and asparagus spiced with paprika. This was the only dish we found rather disappointing.
The last of the starters, Swirling Raindrops ($98) may not be the most photogenic of dishes, but don’t let that deter you. This dish is the ultimate guilty pleasure, with a sweet, cinnamon-spiced Chinese doughnut and fried cheung fan hiding underneath layers of mushroom and choi sum. Definitely a well-deserved treat when eaten alongside so many veggies!
The Fire Balls ($138) are made with king oyster mushroom, pineapple and sweet plum sauce, offering the perfect veggie solution to sweet-and-sour pork. We recommend ordering them with a side of rice to soak up the addictively sweet sauce.
Possibly the most Western of the dishes at Miss Lee is Fungi Farm ($138), a generous portion of risotto made with pearl barley, truffle, assorted mushrooms and Parmesan. The barley has a great chewy texture and al-dente bite, while the Parmesan crisps provided sharp notes. The truffle added flavour without overpowering the dish.
Dessert began with the beautiful and romantic Hawthorn Tree ($70), a light chocolate cake with a layer of mascarpone cream, topped with hawthorn and apple sorbet and beetroot-dusted meringue. We loved the use of natural colourants and felt that the fluffy cake’s subtle hint of chocolate highlighted the sorbet.
Our final dessert acted as a palate cleanser thanks to its light, fruity flavours. Yellow River ($68) is mango sticky rice with the addition of coconut “udon noodles”. While a refreshing dessert to end on, it lacked the sweetness of its Thai inspiration.
Miss Lee is a wonderful addition to Hong Kong’s ever-growing vegetarian dining scene. The colourful dishes and diverse range of flavours are sure to please both local and international palates. We ended our meal full and satisfied, without feeling as though anything (namely, meat) was missing. We were gratified to see that the eatery veers away from artificial proteins and, at the same time, were impressed by some of the dishes’ similarities to meat. We will certainly return to try more of Miss Lee’s creations.
G/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Sheung Wan, 2881 1811
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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