The new spring vegan omakase from Dining at MURASAKI is an experience in gastronomic luxury. Set against an ascending skyscraper with exclusive views of Victoria Harbour, the Japanese-French hybrid features lavish private rooms and 10,000 square feet of stunning dining space. Led by Executive Chef Alfred Poon, the vegetable-forward carte du jour brings a ton of surprises beginning with the amuse bouche, followed by an astounding nine courses with plenty of small bites in between. Below our highlights.
Exquisitely crafted to emulate a tiny garden complete with potted pant and shovel, this creatively witty ‘greenhouse’ is a superb start to the meal. The “soil” is an assortment of crushed walnut, macadamia and almonds that features a variety of fungi and mushrooms (Fun fact: all mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms!) including black and snow fungus along with mushrooms hailing from France (morel), Italy (porcini) and China (cordycep flower). Charcoal powder (helpful for digestion, doncha know?) gives off the opaque texture intermixed with dried grapes and figs to offset the nuttiness.
A medley of Japanese cherry tomatoes immersed in a variety of marinades creates an explosion of flavors in this visually stunning dish. The reds are soused in a citrus balsamic vinegar, the slightly less acidic yellows are glazed over with honey, while the greens are spiced in chili and served atop a yuzu lemon ceviche jelly. The sensation of tangy, sweet, and fiery in a refreshing citrus pulp will activate the senses and prepare you for all the dishes to come!
Fresh Yamaimo Yam
The cool, slippery consistency of yamaimo will be a welcome reprieve against the city’s rising heat and humidity. Dubbed Japan’s slimy mountain yam, here Chef Poon serves up the tuber in two starkly different textures: cut up in slices for a refreshing crunch and grated in a sticky, slimy substance reminiscent of a chilled, gummy gazpacho. A homemade plum sauce dressing nestled below was a sweet addition and was well paired with the otherwise bland root vegetable.
Bean Curd Soup
Tofu zealots will appreciate the multifaceted soy interpretations conveyed in this dish from the piping hot soy milk soup filled with solid bean curd and yuba (that’s bean curd skin in soybean speak) that is yummy enough to drink to the thin wafers of crispy, deep fried yuba sheets served with a dash of salt. Not to be missed: the accompanying bowl of crunchy burdock strips.
‘Camembert Cheese’ Button Mushroom
Over a thin bed of purèed edamame, slices of button mushroom are sandwiched between warm ‘Camembert cheese’ (actually Follow Your Heart vegan cheese) in a delightful and delectable pairing that fooled this omnivore into thinking she was eating the French fromage. Homemade sago crisps and webbed charcoal chips offer a light crunch in between bites.
Smoked Grilled Portobello Mushroom
In perhaps the most striking presentation of the entire meal, this dish arrives encased in fogged glass. Once unveiled, billows of smoke pervades the air giving off an earthy aroma of sakura, the world-famous Japanese cherry blossoms. The centerpiece is the portobello flanked by squash flower tempura, slices of yellow squash and lime, expertly grilled to perfection, and a warm pine nut sauce glaze.
Carb-free (and basically guilt- free!), this pasta dish is made with shredded yellow zucchini stir-fried in truffle sauce for a rich and decadent taste with every bite. Topped with fresh truffles with the option of vegan Parmesan cheese shavings, this simple dish with few ingredients is done so skillfully, Murasaki’s zucchini noodle recipe will make you forget all about pasta.
We are nearing the end of the meal…Small rounds of Japanese black sugar (which boasts a high potassium content) sorbet in a light essence of maple syrup and hints of ginger sit adjacent to a transparent water mochi made of kanten (the Japanese word for agar-agar). Cooling and healthy, it pairs perfectly with a single black sesame glutinous rice dumpling.
Maple Syrup Ice Cream with Crispy Bean Curd Sheet
The meal ends as creatively as it began. Paying homage to his Canadian-Chinese roots, Chef Poon delights this season’s dessert platter with all things maple. A scoop of Canadian maple syrup ice cream served on top of shredded crispy bean curd sheets is paired with maple syrup caviar (gold flecks included!) in milk foam and maple-shaped ice tea jellies. Caramelized pecans and chocolate sauce garnish the plate. It all makes for a pretty spectacular epilogue.
Murasaki: UG/F 08, Sino Plaza, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, +852 2817 8383, email@example.com. Open Monday – Sunday from 12PM – 2:30PM (lunch) and 6:30PM – 10:30PM (dinner).
All photos courtesy of Green Queen.