Restaurant Review: Hemingway's By the Bay
As a bold attempt to convert the way people eat, Hemingway's By the Bay phased out all seafood from their restaurant last August, and by January, they turned a new leaf and transformed the beach-side restaurant into one that can be entirely enjoyed by both vegans and vegetarians alike.
Although the idea of abstaining from meat is daunting to many, Hemingway's successfully spins a creative twist onto all the usual dishes, tempting non-vegans to experience the realistic Beyond burger, shepherd’s pie, spaghetti bolognese, and BBQ pulled ‘pork’ sandwich - which shocks customers who discover that it is in fact made of jackfruit. While remaining tasty, these plant-based alternatives largely reduce the damage done towards the environment.
Hemingway's also enables convenience to its customers by being the first restaurant to implement the use of The Last Straw's bright green paper straws. By providing an alternative choice, they make the process of living sustainably both easy and impactful. These simple changes momentarily divert us from the disconcerting truth that if people continue to consume meat and dispose plastic at an unsustainable rate, there will be more plastic than fish left in the ocean by 2048.
Hopefully, the bold transition that Hemingway's has undergone will inspire other restaurants to do the same, and collectively, Hong Kong will strive towards fostering a more sustainable and healthier environment.
Thoughts on The Big 5:
Food: Their menu offers a wide range of comfort foods, many of which are spicy Mexican-style dishes that contain beans, guac, and salsa. They have burgers, pasta (bolognese!), and pizza - anything you'd expect at a typical Western restaurant - except everything on the menu is vegan! The pizza is slightly cheesier and sticker than usual, and the crust is harder than most pizzas (they are not a pizzeria so can't expect their pizzas to be super high quality), but they're still delicious nonetheless! For the burgers, they use Beyond Meat, and you can either order it as a full burger or order three mini sliders to share (I love that option)! Hemingway's is a great option especially if you're sharing among a group of people. They're one of the very few restaurants in Hong Kong that sell vegan pizzas, so those are no doubt a must try. :)
Price: $100-$200 On the more expensive end of the spectrum, but as most of the dishes are quite large, they are great for sharing and end up being quite worth the price once you split the bill. ;)
Location: Located in Discovery Bay, Hemingway's is not the ideal 'go-to' for many Hong Kongers...unless you live in Discovery Bay. Discovery Bay is a 30 minute ferry ride from Central pier 3, but it's definitely worth the trek if you want some great vegan food!
Comfort: You have the option of both indoor and outdoor seating which is great, because if you want to enjoy the sun, you can sit outside, whereas if you'd prefer to eat in an air conditioned space, then the indoor seating is for you! At night, the restaurant becomes a bar with live music playing and a vibrant atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.
Staff: One of the greatest let downs of this restaurant has got to be its staff. Every time I've entered the restaurant, there has been no one to welcome me in, and I've had to figure out whether or not the seats are available just through trial and error. The staff seemed to be missing all the time, and it's extremely difficult to find a waiter/waitress to take your order. Another major downside is the fact that on most days, the restaurant only opens at 1pm, so if you want to have lunch before that, then tough luck!
Overall, a few improvements can be made to the service at this restaurant, but otherwise, Hemingway's is a great restaurant to visit - especially if you're not ready to plunge into the vegan lifestyle just yet, but slowly want to transition by eating the usual comfort foods and realizing that vegan diets do not deprive you of anything tasty!