Walking into Mana is a little like being transported to a happy, hippy world. The colors are earthy and there’s a lot of green in the surroundings. Stools and wall-tables line one side, and there’s a secret garden-like enclave at the back with a massive wooden table for communal dining. The kitchen is open, the aromas tempting, and the menu thoughtfully vegetarian (with a few vegan options).
Soups, veggie burgers, fries and salads are part of the mains, and a selection of wholemeal, gluten-free flatbreads get a category of their own. While the soups and salads start from $35, the most basic flat (all topping, no filling) will set you back $50—and the heartier ones all average around $70. The point is, things add up here, and you can easily find yourself forking over a hefty amount for a “fast slow food” meal (as the restaurant likes to call it). The fries at Mana are irresistible; the flats are also delectable, although very spice-heavy and strangely healthy-feeling.
Grab a classic with za’atar topping (salt, thyme, sumac, sesame) if you’re looking for a light snack, but go for an autumn flat with roasted vegetables, arugula and rubbery but pleasantly savory halloumi if you want a “meatier” filler. The vegan hazelnut chocolate cake—dark, gooey and rich—was surprisingly tasty too, but that could be because we didn’t have high expectations for vegan desserts to begin with. For a pork-crazed, grease-loving city like Hong Kong, Mana is a welcome addition.