Features 3 minutes 29 February 2024

Vicky Lau of Tate Dining Room in Hong Kong Pays Homage to Mushrooms with Nespresso Exclusive Selection Coffee

Cheffe Vicky Lau of two-MICHELIN-Starred TATE Dining Room in Hong Kong uses expressions of Nespresso’s Exclusive Selection Galápagos coffee to bring out the earthy flavours of mushroom in a mesmerising dish.

Talking about Hong Kong’s most notable restaurants is incomplete without the mention of TATE Dining Room, a two-MICHELIN-Starred restaurant that serves as an elegant and sophisticated respite along the bustling, grungy, and antique-strewn Hollywood Road.

TATE Dining Room at Hollywood Road, Hong Kong
TATE Dining Room at Hollywood Road, Hong Kong

Helming the kitchen at TATE is cheffe-owner Vicky Lau, who exudes elegance and uses food as a well-considered medium to tell stories. The restaurant’s eight-course tasting menu treads the boundary between French and Chinese cooking with flair. According to our MICHELIN Guide inspectors, each dish at TATE is an ode to a singular ingredient, depending on the season, such as Blue Lobster, Pigeon, and Saffron, to name a few.

“The vision of TATE is simple,” shares Lau. “We want to be the premier destination for diners who are seeking an extraordinary culinary experience in Hong Kong. By combining impeccable service, good cuisine, and elegant ambiance, we hope to create these memorable moments for our guests while they’re in the island.”

Nespresso’s Exclusive Selection Galápagos coffee brings forth a full-bodied blend, boasting sweet notes of roasted cereal with a subtle hint of bitter cocoa.
Nespresso’s Exclusive Selection Galápagos coffee brings forth a full-bodied blend, boasting sweet notes of roasted cereal with a subtle hint of bitter cocoa.

Aiming to elevate the fine art of high gastronomy in the world, Nespresso shares the same passion for excellence and craftsmanship. The Nespresso Professional Exclusive Selection line features two exceptional coffee with beans sourced from unexplored terroirs, offering a sensory expedition that is reserved for the coffee aficionados. Nepal Lamjung is a rare, hand-picked Arabica coffee with a rich and velvety texture; and Galápagos is an equatorial gem that brings forth a full-bodied texture, with distinctive flavours of sweet cereal, biscuit, and a cacao-like bitterness.

Vicky Lau for Nespresso.jpg

Bold, adventurous, and an avid explorer of the world, Lau holds a particular fondness for travel, noting that being able to relish, taste, and indulge in different cuisines opens up a vast well of culinary inspiration. “Each trip, for me, has so many different kinds of adventures. I learn new traditions and techniques that can only be discovered by immersing myself in a new culture. I think the best thing about travel is that it gives us a fresh perspective of where we are.”

Seeing the sparkle in Lau’s eyes as she gushes about her passion and love for gastronomy, particularly Hong Kong’s cuisine and dim sum, it’s hard to see Lau as anything else other than a cheffe. However, it’s no secret that Lau graduated with a degree in design from New York University, kickstarting her career in advertising and design prior to donning her toque. But after her years of being in the culinary industry, it all makes sense, seeing how her interest and talent for both food and design intersect.

With Nespresso Professional, Lau creates a dish that echoes the earthiness of premium ingredients sourced from nature — Coffee & Mushroom Medley.

One of the key features of the Nespresso Exclusive Selection line is the unique terroir of the coffee. Thousands of miles from the Ecuadorian coast out in the Pacific Ocean, the Galápagos Islands offer the ideal coffee-growing conditions with mineral-rich volcanic soils and a cooler climate created by wet ocean winds. The result of an unusual growing environment and nurtured by phenomenal biodiversity, the Exclusive Selection Galápagos coffee blend is one of the rarest Arabicas in the world.

Lau uses Nespresso Galápagos coffee as both a sauce for the mushroom and as a creamy sabayon.
Lau uses Nespresso Galápagos coffee as both a sauce for the mushroom and as a creamy sabayon.

“Drinking coffee, for me, is a morning ritual. It’s the aromas that wake me up,” she says with a smile. “Coffee says a lot about the terroir. You can really taste their distinctiveness based from the soil the coffee was grown in. So, immediately, when I think about coffee, I think about something very earthy. That’s where the idea of using mushrooms came from,” she shares.

“Mushrooms have a lot of umami, and, just like coffee, its flavours are robust, have a bit of bitterness, and sport some very complex notes. Immediately, the combination of coffee and mushrooms made a lot of sense in my head,” Lau explains. “I pickled the mushrooms using a concentration made with the Nespresso Galápagos coffee; and again, I used the same coffee to make a sabayon because of its creamy texture.”

Lau continues to say that a tiramisu is one of the best ways to express coffee, so a thick sauce made sense to her. “Mushrooms, just like coffee, are also very representative of the environment they are grown in, and the environment we are at,” she highlights.

Tate's Coffee & Mushroom Medley using Nespresso.jpg

With her two key roles as a restaurateur and a mother, Lau is also one of the board members of Feeding Hong Kong, whose mission is to reduce food waste and feed charities. "A few years ago, I asked myself that, as a cheffe, who do I want to be? Do I want to be just someone that's just wasteful? What is my message?" she contemplates. "And I go back to thinking that I chose this profession because I want to spread love through food. There are some people in Hong Kong who have difficulty finding food, and through Feeding Hong Kong we give out lunch boxes, and we do food drives in schools." Lau's generosity and commitment has definitely inspired many individuals, especially females in the industry. Her values are also felt by those who dine at TATE.

Similarly, Nespresso has an unwavering commitment to caring for the community. As a certified B Corp, Nesspresso prioritises sustainability in its operations.

The company’s AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program is a comprehensive approach to sustainable coffee sourcing and to protecting the farming communities. In Hong Kong, the local recycling program is a key component of its drive towards a circular economy. Aluminium capsules are repurposed into various products and extracted coffee grounds are processed into compost. The latter helps fertilise the likes of herbs, fruits, and vegetables across the city’s farms. From bean to cup, Nespresso is determined to using coffee as a force for good.

Tying Lau's experiences together in both forms of art — culinary and design, peppered by her unwavering values and work ethic, she presents the dish as if unveiling a piece of art. “A dish is like a gift to a guest,” she says. “So, having finesse is very important. I would like to use my cuisine to honour the heritage of Hong Kong, and to make sure every guest leaves happy and satisfied.”

Experience this exclusive Coffee & Mushroom Medley dish, available upon reservation at TATE Dining Room from 12 March to 30 April 2024. TATE Dining Room is located at 210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Central, Hong Kong. Make your bookings here.


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