From the times when waiters used to look genuinely puzzled at the request for “no meat,” to entire streets and communities centred around plant-based living, Hong Kong has come a long way and now has no shortage of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Nestled in the bustling Square in Sai Kung, Casa-rebranded 2084 (pronounced, “twenty eighty-four”) is one such restaurant, serving up an eclectic mix of plant-based Asian tapas. Cha Siu Papers Times’ contributor Aakriti Batra dropped by to try the best dishes in the house.
2084 has something for every taste, mood and person and certainly makes the trek to Sai Kung worth it.
The first thing you feel is the relaxed vibe emanating from 2084. The modern and understated décor coupled with the relaxing music wafting from the restaurant immediately invite you inside. Although 2084 does not have a Spotify playlist (we asked), the two women manning the aux cable could clearly read their audience.
Upon looking at the menu, it became abundantly clear that 2084 was not somewhere we could go for a cheat meal—the menu meticulously laid out the number of calories in each dish apart from, thankfully, the aptly-named “Carbs” section. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how healthy and low-calorie the dishes were and was able to enjoy the delicious meal somewhat guilt-free.
For our first round of cocktails, we had the Mosqueto and a Piña. The Mosqueto was a refreshing and perfect pairing to the unseasonably hot day and the Piña was a slight departure from the classic Piña Colada, incorporating mango as well as coconut cream and pineapple.
The first dish we tried was the Peking Tacos, which immediately set the tone for the rest of the meal. A vegan twist on the Peking Duck, the 2084 variety contained oyster mushrooms marinated in Chinese five-spice complete with spring onion and hoisin sauce. The tacos were perfectly crispy and the scallion added a crunch to every bite. The entire dish was strangely novel but comfortingly familiar.
Next came the Nepali Momos, my favourite dish of the tasting. Being a huge fan of the popular Indo-Chinese street food, my expectations were high. The Nepali Momos certainly did not disappoint. The texture and taste of the filling were so meat-like that I almost couldn’t believe it was vegetarian. The pairing with the tangy coriander and tomato chutney gave the momos a bit of a citrusy zing and complimented the flavour well. The momos not only met my expectations, they far surpassed them.
The next dish on the menu was the Bengali Tikikas, bite-sized cutlets made out of chana dal (a type of lentil) and vegetarian mince. Each tikika was placed in a small piece of lettuce, which we carefully wrapped around the tikika before devouring it whole. True to its Indian roots, I appreciated the slight kick of spice in every mouthful.
The last savoury items were the Seekh Sliders, a trio of mini Indian-style burgers. The choice of the soft and slightly sweet, brioche-like roll offset the potato patty phenomenally and each mini burger was perfectly sized.
For dessert, we had the Carrot Cake which was, as expected, slightly off-piste as well. Instead of a classic cream cheese icing, 2084 uses a lemon and orange cream cheese icing, which added a tart dimension to the nutty carrot cake. To finish the day off, we had another round of cocktails. We ordered a Masala Sangria and a Mohitcho.
The Masala Sangria was a little bit too sweet and the fruit was chopped too small—for me, the most enjoyable part of sangria is being able to eat the wine-soaked fruit when the drink is over, which we were unable to properly appreciate. The Mohitcho did not make much of an impression and was rather forgettable in comparison to the drinks we’d had earlier.
Unless someone had explicitly told me that 2084 was a plant-based restaurant, I would have never known. The flavours that were incorporated across all the dishes were akin to the traditional dishes that 2084’s were based on and I was thoroughly impressed by the innovation of the chef. I also appreciated the extremely kind and attentive service we received. A word to the wise—do not eat at 2084 before a first date. You will definitely leave the restaurant with your mouth smelling, and tasting, like spring onion.