It has been a while since I last wrote about a particular restaurant. I don’t claim to be a food writer or a restaurant critic so I find it quite challenging to put out restaurants’ reviews. In fact, the only time I did this kind of review was when I was asked by Philippine Tatler to be a contributor to their book, “Philippines Best Restaurants 2013”. (Still available in bookstores and newsstands.) It was an honor for me to be included with some of the country’s finest chefs and food connoisseurs reviewing our country’s best.
Speaking about best restaurants… Hong Kong, is a city which has become a favorite of mine because of its amazing food scene. Hong Kong is so close to home (an hour and forty five minutes plus no traffic!) and this city is bursting with lots of good food, great dining places and award-winning chefs!
And I’m not just talking about expensive and fine dining meals here. Hong Kong has some of the cheapest and yet best restaurants in the world! Take for instance, Tim Ho Wan, a hole-in-the-wall eatery, which has the cheapest and yet most delicious and most popular dimsum in all of Hong Kong. It is in fact known to be the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. (And good news, they are coming to Manila very soon! 🙂 )
But this post is mainly about Bo Innovation, a restaurant in Hong Kong, known for its extremist, modern take on traditional Chinese cuisine. I tried it out a few years back, right when they just opened and had been awarded a one Michelin star rating. This was also the time when the whole idea of Molecular Gastronomy was becoming popular. So I came and ate and left… unimpressed. I figured, this kind of “scientific food” may be not for me!
However, another opportunity to visit Bo Innovation came. Knowing that the restaurant has just earned its 3 Michelin stars, which is the highest accolade a restaurant can get, this convinced to give it another chance. So I came and ate and this time… left quite impressed. To date, this is now one of my most unforgettable meals in Hong Kong. And this is also why I decided to write about it here in the blog.
My friends and I were lucky to be able to get a reservation. We booked our table a month in advance knowing that this place is always packed. We were given 3 choices to choose from : Tasting Menu, Chef’s Menu and the Chef’s Table Menu.
We got the Chef’s Table Menu, which is the longest, with 14 courses plus wine pairing. This kind of menu also means you get to seat at the Chef’s Table – which are their most prized 6 seats in the house, since this is right in front of their action-packed kitchen.
And this is what we had :
This was the first dish, but was not part of the 14-course menu. They didn’t give a specific name to it, except that they said this was their amuse-bouche. They described it as something similar to their popular street food, Chinese-style thin pancake, filled with chives that was fried to a crisp. In short, it was their version of our Filipino “chicheria”. 🙂
1st dish on the menu : CAVIAR – made of smoked quail egg and taro nest.
Prepping for the next dish…which was the most interesting amongst all the dishes I tried that night!
2nd dish : MULHOE – made of foie gras, spicy Korean miso, pear, ginseng broth, sea urchin, sea bladder and smoked sea bream. What was quite amusing about this dish was how they were able to mix the foie gras and the miso paste in one and insert them in the tube!
Watch the video to see how these 2 ingredients were combined and mixed in with the rest of the dish :
Of course, I finished the whole tube! 🙂
The next dish that followed…
3rd dish : LAP MEI FAN — or their version of Baked Alaska done in savory style.
4th Dish : UMAMI – made of black truffle, toro, har mi oil, vermicelli rice noodles.
For me, this was the most delicious dish of all! Imagine freshly shaved black truffles on top of fatty toro with just a little bit of har mi oil and some glass noodles? It was the perfect combination of all things good, tasty and luxurious. Umami is definitely the only word to describe this dish!
5th dish : MOLECULAR – Their version of Xia Long Bao.
6th dish : TOMATO – made of “pat chun” Chinese vinegar, fermented Chinese olives “lam kok” and marshmallow with green onion oil.
7th dish : BLACK TRUFFLE – “chian dan chee” or basically a mini molecular burger made of spam and cheese with black truffles! (Yes, SPAM! 🙂 ) Another tasty and favorite dish of mine!
8th dish : RED FISH – made of yunnan ham, dry mandarin peel, wild mushroom, onion and potato.
9th dish : LOBSTER – made of sichuan hollandaise, hot shaoshing broth, chinese leek dumpling and charred corn.
10th dish : MAO TAI or calamansi foam! Light and refreshing, it was the palate cleanser. This dish was in preparation for the last couple of dishes that were “heavier” than the previous ones.
Pouring the sauce on what was to become the “fattiest” dish I have ever tried.
11th dish : LOTUS LEAF – made of chicken, dumpling, bone marrow and preserved kumquat.
The pretty lotus leaf on top covered the fatty bone marrow! (And no, I didn’t eat all of it. 🙂 This was the remaining half!)
12th dish : SAGA – GYU BEEF : made of striploin, bakkutteh chocolate short ribs, truffled taro and spring onion.
If you like shortribs and chocolate (just like I do!), imagine these 2 ingredients combined in one savory dish. Having chocolate as part of the ingredients in this dish, was a good prelude to our desserts too. 🙂
13th dish : Dessert no. 1 – ALMOND – made of genmai, okinawa black sugar and cinnamon.
14th dish : Dessert no. 2 – COCONUT – made of palm sugar, coconut water, chocolate, pina colada, cherry and pandan.
And we thought we were done…until we were given Petit Fours (little desserts!) right after our 2 main desserts!
Top to bottom : mandarin peel chocolate truffle, chrysanthemum meringue, dragon eye coconut jelly, red date marshmallow, rose macaron with lychee & butter cream and lotus seed with pistachio in sticky rice dumpling.
And last two! : osmanthus steamed sponge cake and wolfberry tian jin pear in crystal bun.
It was one long, delicious and filling meal shared with friends, that lasted for about 3 hours. Chef Alvin Leung’s bold and innovative spin on Chinese ingredients and flavors has definitely raised the bar high for modern Chinese cuisine. Without a doubt, his title of being known as the Picasso of Chinese food is well-deserved. And his 3 Michelin stars? They are icing on his cake.
60 Johnston Road,Wan Chai
tel:+852 2850 8371