High above the beating heart of bustling Mong Kok lies the Cordis Hotel, home to award-winning modern eatery Alibi. A restaurant that focuses on sustainability as well as a unique menu, I was delighted to be invited as a guest of Alibi to sample their brand new vegan menu, painstakingly put-together by Chef James Oakley.
The restaurant itself is positioned on the lobby mezzanine, which doesn’t detract at all from the relaxing ambience. A team of hosts showed us to our table and we toasted our meal with Alibi’s deliciously full-bodied house red wine.
Our first course were the IMPOSSIBLE™ tacos, a little slab of plant-based IMPOSSIBLE™ meat, topped with a Shisito pepper, avocado, green peppercorn and semi-dried tomato salsa. This was our first ever taste of the infamous IMPOSSIBLE™ meat and my gosh was it a standout: juicy and tender with a satisfying bite to it, unlike any other plant-based meat alternative I’ve ever tried. It contrasted perfectly with the salsa and Shisito pepper, and to be honest, it was a shame we only got one taco each in the serving!
Next, an Alibi vegan salad, with endive, baby beetroot, macadamia nuts and coconut yoghurt. Whilst never usually my first port of call at a restaurant, this salad was truly a delight to savour. The baby beetroot was sweet, creamy and perfectly flavoured with a totally unique coconut yoghurt to dress it. Typically, you’d find this sort of dish accompanied with cheese, but the crunch from the macadamia nuts and creamy coconut yoghurt more than made up for it.
Then, truffle toast. This was somewhat of a revelation for us because we don’t, or didn’t, eat mushrooms. It’d become a running joke… the vegans that don’t eat mushrooms. But onwards we went and this has got to be the standout dish for me from the meal. Porcini mushrooms, layered atop black truffle, and topped with a handmade charcoal-dusted ‘truffle’ that squished when spread, all on a slice of house-made sourdough toast. Honestly, this dish deserves all of the praise and then some, because I can’t stop thinking about it.
We were then treated to the chef’s banana shallot vegan tart, a dish he crafted in ode to his Indonesian wife. Made with Indonesian tempeh (his own recipe!), truffle, cordyceps flower, cashews and beer, it was a delicious undone tart, sandwiched with homemade bao and baby pak choi. All of the ingredients were beautifully blended together with the sweetness of the banana shallots.
To finish, we had baked peach crumble. Painstakingly crafted by the chef, this dessert features a stunning almond crumble that James developed for weeks, dressed with a caramel-baked peach and a scoop of vanilla soy milk ice-cream. So moreish and a perfect balance of hot and cold, sweet and sour, to round off the meal.
Chef James Oakley then came out to talk us through the set menu he’d crafted for us, and explained his reasons for settling on these dishes. It was SO special to hear him talk about food so candidly with us and hear about his newfound passion for developing vegan dishes, a newness even for him. He happily took us through the sustainability ethos of the restaurant — the restaurant sources food locally as it is seasonal, and supports local farmers — as well as his own thoughts towards the vegan movement.
All in all, we had a standout experience at Alibi. Whilst it is certainly a ‘treat’ sort of location, it would absolutely make a celebration the most special event. We can’t wait to visit again, if only for that truffle toast!