Conscious cuisine: Ovolo hotels removes meat from restaurant menus
Plant-based food is booming. Over the years, people have also begun to make more informed food decisions, driven by increased awareness of the impacts of animal agriculture on the environment, health, and animal welfare. Plant-based dishes have made their way onto menus at restaurants and fast-food chains worldwide, and now we're beginning to see the transition in hotels.
As part of a pledge to offer a more “conscious cuisine”, Ovolo Hotels has removed meat from its restaurant menus, replacing it with Plant'd – a vegetarian-led offering.
With 12 locations in Australia, Bali, and Hong Kong, the designer hotel collection aims to promote plant-based eating by serving only vegetarian food across its properties. However, the restaurants will not enforce its meat-free menu for conferences and events; or at its By Ovolo Collective locations.
Roasted broccoli cooked in seaweed butter, served with smoked almond romesco, a signature dish served at Ovolo's Sydney restaurant Lona Misa.
Girish Jhunjhnuwala, founder and CEO of the group, said the chain dropped many of its meat dishes last year.
"With many of our Ovolo venues already serving plant-based cuisine, we have decided to go the full 100 per cent," he said.
"It's been a strategic move, but Ovolo prides itself on being an industry leader. We believe that the world changes; therefore, we continue to evolve – we want to ensure we are doing our bit to help preserve our environment, promote healthy eating and enhance the image of amazing vegetarian and plant-based dining."
He explained the company has learned a lot since it started removing meat options from its menus and now the company wants to share those insights with other businesses to consider switching to vegetarian-led dishes or integrate them into their existing menus.
"That's why we have created our 'Veg Pledge Playbook 2022', which will be publicly available for everyone to access," Jhunjhnuwala added.
Mushroom Pinchos: Mushroom Pinchos Morunos - moorish spiced oyster mushrooms grilled over coals, served at Lona Misa, Ovolo Sydney.
Some of the dishes included on Ovolo's restaurant menus include Roasted Cauliflower Peri Peri with Chimichurri and Macadamia Emulsion, Smoked Vegetable Tart Escalivada with Miso Dressing; and Grilled Veggie Skewers.
"Our move to vegetarian dining has been even more successful than we anticipated, and we now find ourselves part of a new wave of plant-based pioneers," said Ian Curley, director for kitchen operations at Ovolo.
"A key focus for us has been ensuring we create something that still appeals to everyone – from vegans to flexitarians and those who are simply keen on expanding their palette."
The 'Veg Pledge Playbook' is a white paper that includes information on why the hotel chain has transitioned to vegetarian with its food and beverage offering, what to know before you go vegan, tips on creating food and beverage menus; and general learnings. Curley says the company wants to support companies looking to move to a vegetarian-led lifestyle and encourage industry partnerships. The whitepaper can be downloaded from the Ovolo Hotels website.
A vege-based platter of food served at Veda restaurant in Ovolo's Hong Kong hotel.
Meanwhile, the chain has also launched several other eco-friendly initiatives during the past year, including switching to free-range eggs, providing refillable water containers, using eco-friendly paper for menus, removing plastic straws, and moving away from single-use bathroom amenities plastics.
All of the hotels’ amenities are sustainably designed and use refillable, tamper-free pump bottles, made from recyclable HDPE.