VEA Restaurant & Lounge
29-30/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2711 8639
It’s not common that restaurants attain a Michelin star within the first year of opening, but Vicky Cheng accomplished just that when he opened VEA in 2015. Short for ‘Vicky et Antonio’, VEA pairs inventive food dishes with creative cocktails for a unique sensory experience.
This innovative collaboration is the culmination of experience from one of the city’s best chefs, Vicky, and one of the city’s best mixologists, Antonio Lai. Hong Kong–born Vicky began his culinary career in France, training under some of the most respected chefs in the country. With technical training and a passion for the industry, Vicky returned home to open his own venture.
Meanwhile, Antonio’s CV includes working at a number of renowned bars and restaurants, including opening Hong Kong’s revered bar, Quinary. In 2015 he joined Vicky to execute the VEA vision, providing a drinking and eating experience that would engage all five senses.
Under the motto of ‘one team, one dream’, Vicky and Antonio opened VEA together with Charlene Dawes, owner of Tastings Group, which runs some of the best bars in town including Origin, The Envoy, and the afore-mentioned Quinary. The dream team has created something absolutely unique in Hong Kong, garnering high praise and the attention of Michelin inspectors from the get-go.
The highly ambitious concept is challenging to say the least. With only an eight-course tasting menu available, Vicky and Antonio are required to constantly reinvent the wheel, presenting a new surprise for return diners at each visit. So far, their menus have been a rousing success.
The food follows Chinese tradition with French sensibilities, reflecting Vicky’s local roots and classical French training. You might find blood orange paired in a visually arresting masterpiece with green apple and elderflower, sea cucumber stuffed with langoustine in a clever marriage of East and West, and Chinese you tiao (fried dough), refined with caviar and truffle.
Meanwhile, Antonio’s cocktail pairing is not just complementary, but fully integrated into the dish, using some of the same ingredients to reinforce the flavour profile, whether it’s shiitake mushrooms or goji berries.
If you’re lucky enough to snag one of the 25 counter seats in front of the open kitchen, prepare to be mesmerised by the elegant and practised choreography of the team assembling each dish. The scene is stunning to watch – the pristine rows of plates lined up with military precision, the fluid motions to add each finishing touch, and the look of intense focus on every member of the team, from commis to Head Chef.
If you’re after a more exclusive experience, you can book out the table of eight in the private room, replete with views of the Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Harbour. While VEA is pure elegance upstairs, guests looking for a more relaxed ambience can head to the lounge on the 29/F, where a masculine, gentlemen’s club-style bar awaits with an extended menu of Antonio and Kirill Runkov’s quirky cocktails paired with mouthwatering bar snacks.
Without a doubt, VEA has become one of the most revolutionary restaurants to hit Hong Kong’s dining scene in recent years and continues to lead with integrity and invention. The world-class kitchen transcends Hong Kong borders, making VEA one to watch on the global culinary map.