when dining alone, particularly in a traditional chinese restaurant, i prefer eateries that are less crowded so that i don't feel so out of place amidst huge groups of families and friends. if there's a window looking in, i usually peep inside to assess the situation; at sino vegetarian during lunch hour on sunday, i was pleased to find that there were other solo diners as well.
i asked the waitress to recommend something not so "heavy", and she suggested item 519, soup noodle with sweet corn and fish 粟米睛魚湯麵 (hkd42). when i asked her what the couple a few tables away were having (which looked really good! - item 346, deep fried goose liver rolls stick with taro 香酥鵝肝卷), she advised that it was too much for one person. in her subsequent conversation with a neighbouring group, i overheard her advising them not to order so much initially and to order more later if necessary. thumbs up for her frank appraisal and not wanting to waste food.
my bowl of noodles was delicious, consisting of noodles, bean sprouts, broccoli, carrot, corn and crispy mock meat, complete with seaweed to resemble fish skin.
unfortunately, what marred an overall satisfactory experience was an extremely grumpy cashier. i had a $500 note and made a mistake when trying to top it up with small change. when all was sorted out, she seemed, to me, to throw the change on the counter. and when i asked for a receipt, she printed it out disgruntledly, with nary a word or smile. attribute it to a bad day if you like, but that's still not an excuse for a service staff member on the payroll.
with a tea charge of hkd 9 and 10% service charge on top of that, my meal came up to hkd56.
i'd previously dined here with the meatfree hong kong group (http://www.meetup.com/meat-free-hong-kong) and recall a claypot dish which tasted so much like chicken (which was actually monkey head / lion's mane mushroom) - smooth and succulent with just the right amount of glistening oil.
Cons: chipped crockery, grumpy cashier, "foie gras" on menu