Review: 5 Course Vegan Degustation Dinner at Hector's Restaurant
Every year for World Vegetarian Day, Hectors Restaurant holds an event to celebrate plant goodness in style. This year, it was a 5 Course Vegan Degustation Menu by their executive chef, Jinu Abraham.
Jinu is an award winning chef who is passionate about creating plant-based food so delicious and satisfying, you won’t miss a thing! And boy did he deliver.
Remember, it's much more of a challenge as a chef to work with only plant-based ingredients than with meat. Plants have an enormous variety of different flavours and textures which when put together are harder to harmonize. It takes a masterful chef who has acquired deep understanding of the amazing variety of the plant world to successfully deliver.
And Jinu is certainly that. With his strong background in vegetarian cuisine learnt during his time in India, and inspired by Asian traditions, Jinu adds a Western twist to create delicious mouthwatering complex and delightful dishes that would easily hold their own in any setting. He takes great care to source produce locally, and has trained his team well to ensure that every dish looks as good as it tastes.
His scintillating 5 Course Vegan Degustation Menu certainly didn't disappoint. So let us begin.
Set under a canopy of palms in a dramatic seven-storey atrium, the atmosphere in the restaurant was brilliant. Spacious yet intimate, it was the perfect balance. I could hear the hum of happy diners in the background, but couldn't make out conversations which meant I didn't have to whisper myself! I like that.
Organic Hibiscus and Elderflower
Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted and presented with an Organic Hibiscus & Elderflower Kombucha before being led to our table. The kombucha was lightly effervescent and felt somewhat champagne-like, which is never a bad thing. The delicateness from the flowers coupled with the sweetness made for a happy start to the event.
Red cabbage kraut, guacamole and gigante beans, rice crisp
Crispy, light and packed with flavour, this dish was the perfect 1st course. I got to use my hands (who eats a taco with fork and knives!) So it was also a fun intimate eat. Plus, us Indians believe that food tastes better when eaten directly with your hands. The whole gigante bean added texture to the flavorful guacamole, and the red cabbage kraut added freshness and acid that perfectly rounded the whole dish.
Spinach & Coconut Cannoli
Coffee roasted carrots, citrus vinaigrette, black garlic, picked onion
Two words - pickled onion. They were divine. The asparagus was super fresh, crunchy and absolutely delicious. Loved every bite of it. And who knew coffee roasted carrots would be this good. They all worked. I found the filling for the cannoli though to be a little overpowering with the coconut and wished I could taste the spinach more. But overall, an awesome dish celebrating plant goodness and letting the vegetables shine!
Mango ice with ginger & lime
Loved the hit of ginger! It is one of my favorite tastes so the more the ginger, the better I say! Never had mango ice before so it was quite a treat. I did find it a bit too sweet though. Being a more savoury fan, I am probably more sensitive to sweetness so I would have preferred it with just the natural sweetness of the mango.
It was a stunning looking dish - the picture doesn't do it justice. Beautifully presented, it set the scene for the upcoming main.
Peas & Organic Tofu Stuffed Potato
Roasted pepper, onion & tomato medley with caper & raisin puree, salsa verde and sprinkles of pomegranate
This dish looked a bit underwhelming as it was set down in front of me. But that was it's secret. Preparing myself to be somewhat disappointed, I took the first bite and was blown away. I really was. The depth of flavour was incredible. The perfect mushiness of the stuffing coupled with the breaded potato provided a wonderful texture. The flavours were finely tuned with perfect harmony. I just loved this dish. Loved. It. Couldn't stop eating it!
The bar was already set quite high when this dish arrived, and it was easily the best dish of the night.
The bok choy was another surprise! As you took a bite of it, you were hit with a full flavour of sea salt which then melted away as the natural wateriness of the bok choy came through. Sensational!
And the pomegranate was not just a garnish, it worked really really well eaten together in a bite.
A very thoughtful, complex and delightful dish by the chef.
Textures of Chocolate
Raw pistachio cacao nib truffle, Valrhona chocolate pudding, Dark chocolate sorbet & olive caramel
This dish had amazing presentation looking decadent and inviting. Being a savoury fan, the favourite part of the dish for me was the raw pistachio cacaco truffle which had just the right amount of sweetness for me. I wanted more! The dark chocolate sorbet had the perfect sorbet texture, and the valrhona chocolate pudding was rich and indulgent. A chocolate lover's dream come true for sure! A wonderful note to end the evening on.
Overall, I would give the experience 4.5 stars.
For someone who eats a lot of plant-based cuisine and has a pretty amazing cook as a husband, I was still surprised and delighted by the new flavours and textures and combinations that I experienced. The amazing creativity and depth of knowledge the chef has was clear to see in his food, as well as his respect for the ingredients which he highlighted beautifully. I really liked this aspect, as usually with vegetarian cuisine, such as Indian, the vegetables get lost in the curry and sauces.
So I would eat at Hectors Restaurant again in a heartbeat, and highly recommend it to all. Go treat yourself! You won't be disappointed.
And I wasn't the only one impressed by the food. The chef and his team received a round of applause by very happy and satisfied diners. Thanks for a wonderful night Jinu and team! I'll be back.
Review by Shama Lee