In a heartfelt announcement earlier today Chef Peggy Chan, founder and owner of Nectar announced the eatery was ceasing operating from December 27th onwards. Nectar, and previously Grassroots Pantry, is one of Hong Kong’s most lauded and beloved plant-based restaurants, with Chan very much at the forefront of the city’s vegan and vegetarian gastronomy scene, championing local produce, sustainable food systems and organic agriculture. Citing unstable circumstances in Hong Kong as their main reason, Nectar is one of many independent restaurants to take a hit amidst a challenging retail environment over the past six months that has seen many customers avoid dining out.
Founded by Chan, Nectar was born earlier this year out of Grassroots Pantry, her first restaurant venture that opened in a Sai Ying Pun cul de sac in 2012. To many in Hong Kong’s plant-based community, Chan is the ultimate pioneer, a visionary who who ushered in the city’s modern vegan and vegetarian movement, with Grassroots Pantry becoming a must-visit for locals and tourists alike, attracting customers from all around the world and winning awards along the way. Over the years, Chan has ceaselessly challenging herself to scale new culinary heights, and has impressed die-hard plant-based fans and omnis alike with her carefully crafted, ultra creative seasonal tasting menus. Her creativity shone through in her consciousness-raising Earth Hour feast, which drew attention to the most pressing social and environmental issues of our time.
As an advocate for sustainable food supply chains and responsible sourcing, Chan has always been committed to using local, sustainably-grown and organic whole plant ingredients as much as possible across her menus. In 2019, Chan turned her original restaurant into the fine dining concept Nectar, a high point for plant based gastronomy in the city and a testament to her incredible evolution as a chef.
Chan made the sad announcement this morning, sharing with “heartfelt sadness” that the team had done “everything in their power to restore cash flow and keep our business afloat,” but when the “direction of winds change, we must adjust our sails in order to carry every single person on our ship safely to shore.”
Before they cease their dining operations, fans of Nectar and Grassroots Pantry will still be able to support and enjoy Chan’s culinary creations for the last time, at least for a short while. From the 18th to the 26th December, diners can enjoy Nectar’s festive menu items, and they will serve an extravagant 5-course Tasting Menu for dinner on Christmas Eve. Nectar’s Plant-Based Cheese Platter, which features 8 types of artisanal cultured cheeses, gluten-free crackers, homemade sourdough, activated nuts and fruit compote will still be available to order before the 13th December.
In her message, Chan shared that while restaurant operations will cease December 27th, Nectar will remain at its iconic location at 108 Hollywood Road until March 2020, and will still be available to host private dinners, events and catering functions. She hopes that in the meantime, herself and the team can use this time to regroup and generate a larger impact through their training and consultancy work.
This comes at a time when many independent restaurants and businesses are taking a hit from the current unstable circumstances in Hong Kong. Last week, we bid farewell to long-standing fast casual vegan chain Loving Hut’s location in Wanchai. We were also saddened to say goodbye to beloved health and organic store JustGreen, which has over the years garnered a following for its wide range of vegan-friendly offerings.
Without a doubt, Nectar will be sorely missed in Hong Kong’s plant-based dining scene and we in the vegan community are in mourning. In the meantime, let’s join in to support Chan by dining in, ordering a (vegan) holiday cheese platter, and sending our love and encouragement.
All images courtesy of Nectar / Grassroots Pantry.