Vegan Dining at Hectors Restaurant, Heritage Auckland

22nd October 2014

You would be forgiven if progressive and contemporary weren’t words you immediately associated with an historic property under the name Heritage. But the 100-year-old art deco Heritage Auckland Hotel is pioneering a program to promote healthier dining, more local and sustainable ingredients and more inclusive menu options. This initiative, launched earlier this year, is known as The Good Food Project and is being rolled out across the 20 plus hotels under the Heritage Hotels Group across New Zealand. The Good Food Project has detailed six commitments, one of which is to have plant-based options on every menu. Take a moment to read more about The Good Food Project from Heritage Hotels. We have to say that this is the first of its kind that we have seen in all our travels and we’re excited to get to share this with our readers!

The Good Food Project is our commitment to celebrating more of New Zealand’s vibrant, flavoursome, nutritious and sustainable food in our hotel menus nationwide.

The project will introduce a rich array of plant-based dishes to every menu. We’ll showcase the best seasonal produce from the areas surrounding each hotel. For guests with allergies or special dietary needs, a selection of mouthwatering dishes will be developed. A wealth of positive guest feedback has also ensured that the Heritage Auckland’s popular raw breakfast will become more widely available in our hotels throughout the country.

Food will be an increasingly enticing part of the exceptional and complete accommodation experience we strive to deliver each day. Heritage Hotel guests can count on being nourished and uplifted as well as rested and ready for their day of work or play.

Commitment #1 More seasonal, local produce
Showcasing the strengths of the regions surrounding our hotels, in tune with the seasons.

Commitment #2 Plant-based dishes on every menu
Offering a wider range of exciting dishes that celebrate the flavours and nutritional value of plant-based food.

Commitment #3 Raw breakfast rollout
Making Heritage Auckland’s wildly popular raw breakfast available to guests in other parts of the country.

Commitment #4 Vegetables oils only
Our hotels cook with healthier vegetable based oil alternatives.

Commitment #5 Dishes for dietary needs
Ensuring guests with unique food requirements, like gluten free, have desirable options on the menu.

Commitment #6 Keeping kids healthy
Offering Good Food options for the entire family.

At the fore of this project is Hectors Restaurant at Heritage Auckland Hotel, and leading the way at Hectors is Executive Chef Jinu Abraham. We had the opportunity to sit down with Chef Jinu and discuss The Good Food Project and plant-based dining at Hectors.

We were impressed with his dedication and devotion to following through with the commitments laid out in the project. Vegan diners can take comfort in knowing that Chef Jinu makes every effort to segregate the preparation of vegan dishes in his kitchen. To avoid contamination the kitchen has separate prep, work and cook stations devoted to vegan items along with color coded kitchen tools specifically dedicated to the vegan stations. Kitchen staff are trained to have an understanding of the importance and significance of segregation in the kitchen and service staff are also well versed and informed on their menus and special diets.

Chef Jinu Abraham

While Chef Jinu Abraham is not a vegan, or a vegetarian, he enjoys creating and developing unique and flavorsome plant-based dishes using fresh seasonal produce and new and different techniques.

Hectors Restaurant

Heritage Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Heritage Auckland Hectors Restaurant

Hectors Restaurant Entrance

Chef Jinu Abraham Kitchen

Hectors Restaurant Dining

Vegan Smoothies

Hectors Restaurant @ Heritage Auckland Hotel: To start, we had complimentary bread that came with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (we didn’t try them) and ordered two different vegan smoothies ($9.50 each). The beige color is Nutrablast (banana, oats, agave nectar, peanuts, soy milk and soy yogurt) and the green one is Fresh Spirulina (banana, kiwi, apple, agave nectar, soy yogurt and spirulina shot). The Nutrablast is pretty good, it’s an ideal breakfast smoothie or even a dessert.

Hectors Restaurant Macadamia Cheese & Poached Vegetable Salad

Hectors Restaurant @ Heritage Auckland Hotel: For one of the starters, we had Macadamia Cheese & Poached Vegetable Salad (Vegan) with candied walnuts, dehydrated black olive soil, surface fried celeraic flakes and beet paint. Chef Jinu Abraham starts his cheese with probiotics and ferments it for 16 hours overnight in the warmest part of the kitchen. His macadamia cheese is probably the best nut cheese made in Auckland.

Hectors Restaurant Macadamia Cheese & Poached Vegetable Salad

Vegan Coconut Yoghurt Cannelloni

Hectors Restaurant @ Heritage Auckland Hotel: Another vibrantly gorgeous starter to dig into, Coconut Yoghurt Cannelloni (Vegan) with raw coconut yoghurt, dehydrated black olive soil, smoked chickpea puree, carrot-lemongrass emulsion and roasted artichoke.

Vegan Coconut Yoghurt Cannelloni

Chef Jinu Abraham

Chef Jinu Abraham

Vegan Wood Planked Silken Tofu

Hectors Restaurant @ Heritage Auckland Hotel: One of the mains we tried was the Wood Planked Silken Tofu (Vegan) with grilled artichoke, avocado-wasabi salsa, corn puree, and bok choy served on a cedar plank. This dish is a low carb and gluten-free option. The silken tofu is Non-GMO, made fresh in Auckland with soy grains from Australia, customized for the restaurant and marinated ‘a-la-minute.’ The avocado-wasabi salsa is a mildly spicy and creamy guacamole-like salsa. The corn puree is made of non-GMO kernels, pureed in the Vitamix, strained, cooked down in a double boiler and seasoned.

Organic Tofu & Peas Stuffed Potato

Hectors Restaurant @ Heritage Auckland Hotel: Organic Tofu & Pea Stuffed Potato is Executive Chef Jinu Abraham’s winning lunch dish from the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2014. These potato croquettes remind us of ‘aloo tikki’ with faint Indian spices, but these spices and flavors are limited to the croquette on the plate. Underneath the croquettes is the roasted pepper and onions. On the top of the croquettes is caper and raisin puree which provides a salty, briny and tart acid from the caper with a bit of sweetness from the raisin. This is an alternative to the traditional tamarind chutney since tamarind is not widely available in Auckland. The seaweed garnish is local and known as ‘Karengo Fronds.’

Chef Jinu Abraham

These two desserts contrast one another quite well. While one is light, fruity, tropical and refreshing, the other is rich, decadent and downright irresistible.

Tropical Mango Sorbet with Coconut Cream and Strawberry Mousse

Hectors Restaurant @ Heritage Auckland Hotel: For the dessert, we had Mango Sorbet, Coconut Cream, Strawberry Mousse with candied pineapple sphere, dehydrated black olive soil dusting around the edge and crisp biscuit. On a warmer day when you want a lighter meal, we would highly recommend the fruity, tropical Mango Sorbet with coconut cream and strawberry mousse.

Tropical Mango Sorbet with Coconut Cream and Strawberry Mousse

Vegan Cinnamon Banana Fritter

Hectors Restaurant @ Heritage Auckland Hotel: The Cinnamon Banana Fritter with mandarin sorbet, mint garnish and freeze dried mandarin was a rich, decadent and downright delicious ending to our meal. A perfect dessert to share between two and a very popular dish at Hectors Restaurant. The banana fritter has panko crumbs and the chocolate mousse is made of 70% Valrhona.

Lobby Bar

Heritage Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Heritage Auckland Vegan Tapas

Lobby Bar @ Heritage Auckland Hotel: We tried delicious vegan tapas with our friend, Koko from Koko’s Kitchen.

Starting from the top left (clockwise), we had Polenta Crumbed Artichokes with activated almonds, paprika and eggless aioli; Truffled Mushroom on Sourdough with chickpea puree and olive paste; Baked Tempeh & Cauliflower Filo with beetroot chili relish; and Mini Arancini with vegan mozarella, homemade smokey tomato sauce.

We loved the Polenta Crumbed Artichokes and Truffled Mushroom on Sourdough. Mini Arancini was the only disappointment since we couldn’t taste the ‘vegan mozzarella.’

Heritage Auckland Vegan Lobby Bar Tapas Menu

The Lobby Bar menu at Heritage Auckland Hotel is entirely vegan.

Heritage Auckland Hotel also has an extensive wine list, available at Hectors and the lobby bar, including certified vegan wines.  Only wines that are certified vegan receive the V-check on the menu. So while some wineries have informed the hotel that they are vegan, the property understands that they have a responsibility to their guests and have only labeled the wines that are certified vegan with the V-check on the menu.

Included are copies of the menus from our visit to the Lobby Bar. Tapas Menu (17:00hrs -23:00hrs) | Smoothies & Fresh Juices Menu | Wine Selection (Pg 1, Pg 2, Pg 3, and Pg 4)

Verdict for Heritage Auckland Hotel

We have not been compensated to promote or share this, we have chosen to share and promote this because The Good Food Project is something we can get behind and truly support. We hope more hotels follow the example Heritage Hotels is setting with their commitment to healthier, more sustainable and more inclusive dining options.

We also feel that Heritage Hotels and Hectors Restaurant is in good hands with Chef Jinu. They are fortunate to have such an open-minded, driven and motivated chef. He is constantly striving to evolve his dishes and learn new techniques and methods while also developing connections with his ingredients and their sources. Chef Jinu was a pleasure to meet and a refreshing personality in the kitchen. Hectors Restaurant and Heritage Hotels are atop our list of places to visit for any vegan (or for that matter, anyone with special dietary needs or restrictions) in New Zealand. Head to Hectors Restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand for lovely vegan fare including an exclusively vegan lobby bar, raw breakfast bar and vegan wine selections!


35 Hobson Street, Auckland 6001, New Zealand

Disclosure: Lunch at Hectors Restaurant was complimentary, provided by Heritage Auckland Hotel. All thoughts and opinions are our own, we have not been compensated to provide any feedback positive or otherwise.

Tell us about your experiences staying at hotels and requesting vegan options.

You Might Also Like