JaJa is one of two food and beverage options at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in Wanchai on Hong Kong Island. As a full service restaurant, the Hong Kong Arts Centre restaurant serves an exclusively vegetarian menu running from appetizers and snacks to main courses, desserts, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. A whimsical space. it features a pink and pastel interior, with views of Victoria Harbour. The Corner is an informal space serving specialty coffees and desserts. With casual seating, it is located on the ground floor.
The Back Story
I was on my way to a major art exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai on Hong Kong Island. Along the way, I wanted make a stop at the Hong Kong Arts Centre to check out a small scale exhibition by a local artist.
To clarify, the two venues were within walking distance of each other. And since I hadn’t had lunch yet, I decided to check out the Arts Centre’s food and beverage outlets. The last I heard, the centre had a popular Italian restaurant called something like Assagio Trattoria or Assagio Hong Kong.
Upon entry, I discovered there were, in fact, two F&B outlets: a coffee bar and a full-service restaurant.
But the name of the restaurant didn’t sound familiar. Little did I know that the Hong Kong Arts Centre Italian restaurant had undergone a name change and a change of concept. And it now served an exclusively vegetarian menu! Since I’m not a vegetarian, would I be disappointed?
JaJa – the Hong Kong Arts Centre Restaurant
As the Hong Kong Arts Centre restaurant, JaJa is a full service eatery serving an exclusively vegetarian menu. And it opens for lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.
Because the name is Spanish for “ha ha”, I am assuming it is pronounced that way, as well, since the Spanish J is pronounced similar to the English H. It is located on the sixth floor of the Hong Kong Arts Centre in Wanchai.
BTW, the space was formerly occupied by an Italian restaurant called Assaggio Trattoria Italiana. I guess that explains my confusion.
The exclusively vegetarian menu at the Hong Kong Arts Centre restaurant runs from light and healthy dishes such as soups and salads to appetizers, Asian dishes, pizzas, pastas, and risottos. Also, there is a vegetarian hamburger and a vegetarian Schnitzel.
In addition, there are shakes and sweet treats, liquid lunches, cocktails, mocktails, iced teas, coffees, and other beverages. Finally, the restaurant has a wine menu. And the wines are served by both the bottle and the glass.
Not realizing I was having lunch at a vegetarian restaurant, I ordered the #BurgerGoals (HK$178,US$22.75 ), which was made with a plant-based “beef” paddy.
And it came with avocado, tomato, and green leaf lettuce. In addition, there was a basket of French fries on the wide. And I washed it down with a glass of an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend.
I have to be honest. While I am a committed beefeater, I thoroughly enjoyed this plant-based hamburger! In fact, I would consider ordering another one in the future!
The restaurant had two distinct indoor dining spaces and an outdoor space. The indoor spaces featured a predominately pink and white colour scheme with blue accents. And it had a frilly, whimsical vibe.
Regarding the outdoor space, I wasn’t aware there was one during my visit. And even if I had been, I would not have wanted to dine outside because it was a suffocatingly humid early June afternoon.
However, judging by the proximity of the Hong Kong Arts Centre to waterfront, I’m sure it would be a delightful place to dine in the evening and/or during a more temperate time of the year. I’m sure the view would be spectacular!
I was surprised and delighted to discover that the hamburger was vegetarian as it was surprisingly delicious! Perhaps, the chunks of avocado had something to do with that.
Regarding the ambiance, it was a little too feminine for my taste. And the price weren’t cheap.
However, all things considered. I’ll give it a thumbs up for the mouthwatering hamburger and the yummy French fries. I really did enjoy my lunch!
JaJa – 6/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Telephone: (852) 2877-3999.
The Hong Kong Arts Centre restaurant is located on the sixth floor of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, within a 10 to 15 minute walk of two MTR stations. The Convention Centre MTR Station is located on the East Rail Line. And the Island Line, Kwun Tong Line, South Island Line, and Tsuen Wan Line all make stops at the Admiralty MTR Station.