Alvin Leung is not a characterless chef. Not every chef is dressed in a black sleeveless t-shirt and has a huge tattoo meaning “demon chef” on his arm. After dinners, Alvin likes to socialize with his guests, with a thick cigar in his mouth. The chef of Bo Innovation is a “self made man”. He doesn’t have any formal training and started his career in a private kitchen called Bo Innoseki in 2003 in Hong Kong. Just after 5 years, his cooking in Bo Innovation was rewarded with 2 Michelin stars in the first Guide Rouge Hong Kong ever. As the chef likes to claim himself, he “pioneered Xtreme Chinese cuisine- a combination of centuries old recipes with modern ingredients and cooking techniques”.
Despite the “extremeness” of Alvin Leung’s image, I didn’t find his cooking too extreme. On the contrary, his cuisine is quite subtle if I can call that so. Alvin Leung knows how to cook, he has mastered European as well as Asian techniques. It is difficult to call what I ate “Xtreme Chinese”, maybe “innovative fusion” would be a more proper name. Some of the dishes were too classical, some – amazing, which managed to overpower the boring part of the dinner and turn it into memorable.
The view of the dining room from the “chef’s table”, that is facing the open kitchen where all the action takes place.
We had the Chinese New Year menu that included the folllowing dishes.
“1000 years egg, crispy pickled ginger cone” I have never tried the traditional Chinese preserved egg and it was good, but nothing memorable. (only the fact that it was preserved) The egg was kind of greenish, transparent and had a very mild taste. The sweet and crispy ginger cone worked with it.
“Oyster, spring onion, lime ginger”.One of the best dishes of the dinner. The oyster was incredibly fresh.
“Caviar, smoked quail egg, crispy taro” If I didn’t know that it was taro crisp ( Taro is a Chinese vegetable), I would have thought that it was puff pastry with quail egg and caviar. For me, it reminded more a classical French tapas, rather than “extreme Chinese” cooking. Of course, it depends on what point of view you look at it. Taste-wise it was excellent.
“Uni, dan dan noodles”. Cold thin noodles with sea urchin. Perfect “where the sea meets the earth” interpretation. Loved it.
“Daikon cappuccino “har mi ” crouton”. For me, it was the most classical dish of the night. It was perfectly executed (As everything at Bo Innovation by the way. The solidity of the cooking is unquestionable.), but it was just like any other “cappuccino” I’ve had in classical French restaurants. Maybe daikon (Japanese radish) should be more present in the dish?
“Toro, foie gras powder, freeze fried raspberry”. Now, this is the kind of dish that you would like to travel for. You had to roll the premium tuna sashimi with the tweezers. When you put the fatty tuna, dried foie gras and freeze fried raspberry in your mouth, you could feel the amazing synergy of the ingredients.
“Abalone, chicken congee, black truffle”. “Congee” is traditional Asian rice “porridge”, that is boiled for an important period of time and becomes “gluey”. I found it quite bland and I didn’t like so much the texture of the congee. But maybe it’s a cultural thing.
Soufflé with star fruit. Very good, but despite the exotic fruit, the taste was quite classical. So can’t call it “Xtreme Chinese”!
Ginger juices cooked in liquid nitrogen. The last time I’ve had something similar was at La Maison de Marc Veyrat . The most famous technique of the so called molecular cuisine.
“Foie gras “lap mei”, peas”. I liked that the foie gras was cooked according to a Chinese technique. Interesting.
“Langoustine, preserved duck egg, English mustard, cauliflower risotto foam, black truffle”. Delicious, high-level dish. But again, the only thing “Chinese” was the preserved duck egg and it was overpowered by the rest of the ingredients. Nice presentation.
“Suckling pig, Sichuan apple, vanilla”. This is a classical Chinese dish that was revisited by adding apple and vanilla flavours. Excellent.
“Wagyu “fat choy” hotpot”. It was a truly “high end” Japanese sukiyaki interpretation and one of my favourite dishes that night. The quality of the wagyu was sensational.
The desserts… they were all excellent and met my “innovative Chinese” expectations…
Chinese New Year speciality. I don’t remember what it was exactly, but it was something like sticky rice crème brûlée with passion fruit, decorated with a thin slice of chocolate.
Apple crumbles revisited. The pieces of the baked apple were inside the sticky rice dumpling (if I can call it like this). A great dessert.
P.S. The very only three stars Lung King Heen and the very private David Tang’s “China Club” coming next.