Hong Kong, China
Over the last six years, Vea has earned a special place in Hong Kong’s dynamic gastronomic scene. Sought after by overseas visitors for its singular style melding French and Chinese flavours, it is equally loved by the local clientele, for whom dining at Vea is a nostalgia-inducing journey into Hong Kong’s culture and food traditions. Yet, no matter where you may be from, Vea’s leitmotif remains the same: it is the focus on creating an experience that is as natural and spontaneous as it is delicious and compelling.
While many restaurants feature open kitchens, chef-owner Vicky Cheng’s choice to build the dining room around a 24-seat snaking counter was not to showcase the kitchen team’s work, but to give them a chance to observe diners at all times and quickly respond to their needs. By putting his team right in front of the guests, Cheng chose to put the focus on the customer from the start – a choice that is paying off, with Vea winning the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award 2021.
Indeed, at the beginning of his career, Hong Kong-born Cheng considered working front of house rather than in the kitchen. Having trained with some of France’s most highly respected chefs – including Daniel Boulud of Restaurant Daniel in New York – the chef returned to Hong Kong in 2011 and set to work on defining his own style, combining the finest French cooking techniques with the pride he felt in his country’s culinary heritage and classic ingredients. When the time came to open his own restaurant, he made sure to put service front and centre in the experience.
The result is a menu that charts Cheng’s love story with Hong Kong, with high-end Chinese ingredients such as fish maw given the fine-dining treatment – served with a French butter sauce, puffed quinoa, freshly cut chives and prestigious Chinese caviar. In another signature dish, Cheng recreates the classic French pithivier pie with abalone heads and morels mushrooms from Yunnan in south-west China. No dining experience would be complete without an expert drinks pairing, and Vea offers not one but five different options – including mocktails, cocktails, wines, Chinese wines and premium wines, affording the customer the luxury of extensive choice.
From the chef’s counter to the intimate low tables and private dining rooms, the experience at Vea is thought-through to the last detail – without ever foregoing spontaneity. Landing in the top 20 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for the second year running, Vea is setting the standard for hospitality experience in one of Asia’s very best dining cities.
Read the interview with Cheng and go inside the restaurant in the video:
Discover more about the previous award winners