Six years since laying the foundation for what is now one of the most venerable vegetable-forward establishments in the city, chef Peggy Chan has upped the ante. Pushing the boundaries of her creativity, the new Spring/Summer menu of Grassroots Pantry is a practice in Chan’s ingenuity that fuses her sustainable living philosophy with delicious, wholesome world-inspired dishes. Featuring a cosmopolitan mix of lighter summer fares, a return of GP staples (hint hint, their famed Lemon Chia Seed Pancakes with condensed almond milk and organic maple syrup is back!) and innovative culinary creations, the time for healthy, nutritious eats is now and the place is chez Grassroots.
Staying true to its eco roots, the new menu at GP puts local organic vegetables, whole grains and pickled radishes at the front and center of every dish. “Nutrient-density and seasonality are the primary goals for this menu,” says Chan. “We’re portraying lots of raw techniques in many of the dishes, showcasing refreshing local organic, vibrant ingredients but not forgetting traditional culinary techniques such as rolling pappardelle, hand-making gnocchi and slow boiling a seasonal pho-like tonic soup.”
Indeed, their new meat-free ‘bolognese’ tops the aforementioned handmade buckwheat pappardelle and is tossed in a blend of garam masala spices with shiitake pancetta. Chan is a true student of global cuisines and regional artisan cooking techniques and it is a treat to devour her multi-layered, sophisticated creations, all plant-forward reinterpretations of celebrated world dishes.
Signature favorites of GP’s new spring/summer menu includes chef Peggy’s version of Bagna Càuda, a traditional Italian anchovy dip usually served with seasonal crudites. In her interpretation, Chan highlights local spring veggies with a deliciously savory fermented tofu cashew dip. Other globally-inspired dishes include the Raw Spicy “Tuna” Hand Roll, a sprouted seed “tuna” with jicama cauliflower rice, avocado, GP’s homemade Sriracha sauce and wasabi mayo. Also unmissable? The Pozole Verde, a provincial Mexican heritage soup of green tomatoes that sings with flavor and sour sweetness.
As unabashed fans of all things fermented, we have to showcase their new Macro Tsukemono Donburi, a bowl of assorted home-pickles, a clever cashew ‘unagi.’ black beans, sautéed greens, Japanese peppers, sea veggies, all served on a bed brown rice. It’s a veritable celebration of nourishing goodness! Your nutritionist would be proud. Notable new fave amongst breakfast lovers is their brand-new Teff & Oats Porridge with quinoa, chickpea miso, pickled veggies and tamari sprouted seeds. In case the the term teff is news to you, here’s a primer: it’s a newly-popular Ethiopian gluten-free wonder grain that aids digestion, improves bone and heart health, and can reduce menstrual symptoms.
And keeping with this nutrient-dense mindset, teff is the flour of choice in GP’s injera, a traditional Ethiopian sourdough-like flatbread and the base of their Koji Smoked Carrot Crepes, a savory brunch exclusive with shaved Chinese seasonal greens, pine nut yolk mousse, and wild arugula and dill salad. It’s also in GP’s moreish Shiitake Gnocchi, served with a King Eryngii & Maiitake mushroom blend in a creamy cashew béchamel along with lemon-thyme pesto- an absolute winner of a dish.
Another well-kept secret is GP’s Happy Hour Menu- it runs from 3.30pm to 6.30pm and may be the best healthy deal in town: for HKD 80 you get a glass of organic wine or a craft beer plus one of their fabulous bar snacks (choose from BBQ Popcorn “Chicken, Celeriac & Burdock Fries, Cauliflower & Cheese or Pan-Fried Gyoza). The perfect post-work hang before or after yoga!
Grassroots Pantry, 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Open Monday through Sunday from 7.30am to 11pm for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner- as well as all day for hot and cold takeaway options except for Saturdays and Sundays when they open at 8am and also serve brunch. For reservations, call +852 2873 3353.
Images courtesy of Green Queen & Grassroots Pantry.