HONG KONG: Despite current restrictions, chef Vicky Lau has opened a new restaurant together with co-founder Romain Herbreteau and head chef Percy Ho. The new restaurant Mora, an intimate 28-seater French-Chinese restaurant will showcase one of Asia’s oldest culinary traditions: soy food. It has opened in the historic street if Upper Lascar Row in Sheung Wan. The location connects Mora to Hong Kong’s fascinating history with a Chinese character that represents texture.
Mora pays tribute to the humble yet versatile ingredient soy which is a pillar of Asian cuisine and culture. Not only does it play an important role in Asian diets, it is a driving force for heritage, tradition and mindfulness. Its fragility in cuisine can endure time and temperature while being fleeting and subtle. When paired with other ingredients in cooking, the possibilities with soy food are surprising as they are abundant.
“Tofu, bean curd and other foods derived from soy have always been such an integral part of my diet and upbringing. As a chef, the more I learn about soy, the more I seem to fall in love with it. My exploration of soy began at Tate Dining Room from our lunch menu Ode to Tofu in 2020. For that menu, I was able to create relationships with some of Hong Kong’s most skilled artisans. At Mora, I am to create an entirely new genre of soy-based dishes from all I have learned in and out of the kitchen, bridging emotions and memories with bistro-inspired cooking techniques,” said chef owner Vicky Lau.
The restaurant is serving its Characters of Soy in its soft opening tasting menu. This modern French Chinese menu is far from conventional, straying from the traditional format of appetisers, starters and desserts and instead separating courses by textual nuances. Every soy-based dish is served in tasteful portion sizes and with consciously selected ingredients in a bid to minimise food wastage and reduce carbon footprint as much as possible.
Most soy food products found on the menu at Mora will be created in Mora’s own factory in Hong Kong which utilises a new technology of extracting soy milk with a thicker texture and more intense flavours.
The dishes are inspired by Vicky Lau’s French and Chinese cooking roots. She will explore the world of opportunities that exist with the ingredient of soy which gives her an endless variety of shapes, flavours, aromas and textures.
The restaurant will not advocate a fully plant-based, vegetarian or vegan-diet but wants to modernise the way people view and consume soy, as a delicious, nutritious and elevated alternative to other, less sustainable ingredients and cooking methods. Mora wants to prove that an outstanding meal does not require so much meat or seafood ingredients.
Upper Lascar Row is known for its collection of Chinese calligraphy, arts, antique and vintage stores. It is significant for its preservation of cultural and historic relics. Mora aims to do the same through its exploration of soy – a food product that has been part of the Chinese diet for over 3000 years.
The restaurant’s design is inspired by Vicky Lau’s traditional Chinese and contemporary French influences, the texture of tofu, the refined subtleties of the Song Dynasty design and 1930’s French concession Shangai. All elements – the softly sculptural bar in solid travertine, tofu skin-inspired 3D printed pendant lamps among others – were inspired by Dix Design. Guests will dine alongside ancient Chinese panels throughout the restaurant that illustrate the process of tofu making.
Vicky Lau started her career in advertising as a graphic designer before she turned to gastronomy. In 2012 she opened Tate Dining Room which today is a 2 Michelin star restaurant.
The restaurant is currently open for lunch from Tuesday to Saturday until further notice. Once the dinner ban is lifted it will be open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday and for lunch on Friday and Saturday.