Address: Shop 13, 2/F J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai
灣仔莊士敦道60號 J Senses 2樓13號舖
Telephone: 2850 8371
Since I was previously complaining about the lack of exciting, truly innovative restaurants in town, I decided to try out Bo Innovation, the Michelin two-starred east-west-fusion restaurant with a little bit of molecular cooking here and there.
Fusion cuisine is often tricky, and when not done properly, often results in dishes that are peculiar and confusing. The reason I have been postponing my trip to Bo Innovation was that a lot of my friends have complained that the tasting menu was way overpriced, and that the portions were small. I decided to go easy and try out their Lunch Menu – this meant that I did not get to sample some of the signature items such as the molecular xiao long bao, but I guess you can’t have everything!
The Lunch Menu priced at $268 (+10%) per head will allow you to order two dim sums and one main course from the menu. The majority of the dim sums were delicious, and the infusion of Western ingredients into classic Chinese dishes enabled me to catch glimpses of Alvin Leung’s creativity at work.
(1) Our first dim sum was a “har gau” black truffle XO. The wrapper was chewy and gelatinous, and the shrimps were fresh and supple – the creative addition to this classic Chinese gar gau was the truffle shavings on top of it, and they worked perfectly!
(2) The foie gras potsticker was another traditional dim sum with an inventive edge. The potsticker was delightful, with a wrapper which was attractively thick and crunchy, and dipped in a sweet, alluring sauce. The addition of foie gras was well-received, but I wish the taste of it was stronger.
(3) Our third dim sum was a deep fried cuttlefish. The cuttlefish ball was beautifully deep fried and was served with a refreshing kaffir lime sauce, which tasted a bit like lemongrass and was in a pretty, playful apple-green colour.
(4) We were then presented with a chicken, pesto bamboo shoot spring roll. This dish scored high aesthetically, with edible flowers adorning the plate. The spring roll was impressively crunchy and scrumptious, even though the pesto taste could barely be detected.
(5) For me, the cod ball was a real winner. Decadently soft and tender, the cod ball was dipped in extra virgin olive oil, which was not only harmonious with the cod fish but also gave a soothing, lingering aftertaste.
(6) The black truffle “cheung fun” was magnificently thin and delicate, and showed off the kitchen’s ability to make master classic Cantonese dim sums. The black truffle taste was strong and alluring; my only complaint was that it was a tad too salty.
(7) The first main course we tried was a slow cooked suckling pig, in Chinese vinegar. This was perhaps the weakest course of our meal. Even though the braised meat was thoroughly cooked to a perfect, soft texture, but the Chinese vinegar sauce was a bit peculiar – it was not sour at all, and was strangely bitter. Fortunately, the egg yolk, which was a solid ball that was still runny on the inside, was not only adorable to look at but also tasted scrumptious, and completely lifted our spirits!
(8) The langoustine, preserved duck egg, english mustard, cauliflower was accomplished. The langoustine was firm and fresh, and the dish embodied a layering of different tastes and textures which worked together harmoniously. I particularly admired how the foam was still warm when this was served!
(9) The french quail “beggar style” was a quail stuffed with lentil and served with wolfberry chutney. The quail was tender and sensuous, and the wolfberry chutney added a bright, delicious note to the dish.
(10) Since many people have complained that they left Bo Innovation feeling hungry (even for those who tried their Tasting Menus ranging from $880 to $1880), this “Starch” seemed to serve the sole purpose of filling diners up. Having said that, the rice had an attractive, chewy texture and the seasoning was spot on.
(11) The set lunch came with a Dessert du jour, which was a Mango cake with lychee sorbet. The fruitiness of the lychee sorbet was invigorating, and the mango mousse cake was soft, sweet and creamy, with a delicious biscuit base.
SPOILER ALERT – PLEASE DO NOT SCROLL DOWN IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE WHAT “SEX ON THE BEACH” LOOKS LIKE!
(12) Having heard many things about the provocative dessert, “Sex on the Beach”, I was truly excited to be able to finally try it. The dessert does not come with any set menu, and has to be ordered separately for $68, but it is worth a mention that it is a feisty dessert for a good cause – the proceeds will be donated to Hong Kong Aids Foundation. As for the taste, the dessert was supposed to recreate the feeling of a beach on a summery day, and chef Alvin Leung thought that stepping on hot sand gave a stinging feeling to your feet, therefore, the crumbles were mixed with Sichuan peppers which produce a tingling sensation and a numbing aftertaste. The pink pouch was made of gelatin (which tasted a bit bland and was rather rubbery), and contained condensed milk inside. The bottom of the plate was layered with apricot jam, and there was a piece of sea shell made of white chocolate, which provided extra sweetness to the dessert; this was a dessert in which Alvin Leung’s restless creativity and thoughtfulness really shone through.
Conclusion: Dining at Bo Innovation was not only about the food, it was about the general experience. Chef Alvin Leung took a bold step in combining old and new techniques and giving classic Chinese cooking a nudge forward, making Bo Innovation the place to go for a culinary adventure to tease and tantalize your taste buds.