Review: Three Michelin Starred Bo Innovation

I’ve finally found time to share about my first 3 Michelin Star experience at Bo Innovation, the flagship restaurant of “The Demon Chef” – British born, Canadian raised Alvin Leung.

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The place wasn’t full when we came over for dinner but then again I can’t imagine many people – no matter how rich – blowing HK$2,380 casually on a dinner (that’s for the Chef’s Table Menu). I guess the lunch set is relatively more reasonable at HK$430? But not really…

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Preceding the food was this snack, a reinterpretation of popular Hong Kong street food egg waffle, except savoury

Instead of serving guests a bread basket, Bo Innovation is famous for serving eggettes, a traditional Hong Kong street snack (Stephs852diary)

A little background on the 2 Michelin starred chef: Leung was actually trained as an engineer before moving to Hong Kong where he purchased a “speakeasy” called Bo Inasaki for GBP3,000. He then taught himself how to cook and named it Bo Innovation.

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The decor (steel cages) actually doubles as food presentation props

Reading about Leung, you get the sense that he’s just exceptionally good at branding and hyping up his cuisine. But it looks like the strategy works… He calls his cuisine “X-Treme Chinese” : “X-citing, X-otic and X-traordinary.” To date he has a second restaurant Bo London in Mayfair and the more approachable MIC Kitchen in Kwun Tong (Hong Kong).

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Chef Alvin Leung was actually helping to prepare our food before us

He was extremely obsessive and nit-picky with the presentation, re-doing the dishes the other chefs did until he thought it was just right; perfect. That’s the Korean-inspired “Mulhoe“ in the photo

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Mulhoe: foie gras, gochujang, pear, sea urchin, jellyfish, seaweed, halibut and beetroot kimchi. 

Leung said this was inspired from what Korean fishermen would eat on their boats while on duty. If I’m not mistaken that beetroot kimchi paste was squeezed out of a silver tube, especially manufactured for Bo Innovation

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A warm CAVIAR dumpling of smoked quail egg inside (YUM!) and crispy taro nest outside

I wish I could have had more than one of these but there were like 14 more courses to go at this point…

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TOMATO + VINEGAR

Three ways to eat a fresh, sweet TOMATO: (1) in marshmallow form with green onion oil; (2) fermented Chinese olives “lam kok”, (2) “pat chun” chinese vinegar. Creative but can I eat something else now?

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A palette cleanser: ginger tea frozen with liquid nitrogen

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The signature “molecular xiao long bao”

The signature “molecular xiao long bao”

Honestly I like the real xiao long bao so much better but this was is supposed to be revolutionary because it has all the flavours but non of the textures of the classic pork soup dumpling. A thin jelly skin encapsulates the juice inside: a potent soup reduction. You get the feeling of eating an egg yolk as you spoon the delicate sphere into your mouth, followed by an explosion of flavours

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Mao Tai

This is the powerful Chinese liquor mainland grandparents would take to get drunk in their time: a sauce-scented brand of baijiu. What makes Alvin Leung so different is his knowledge and utilization of these ingredients that only someone who grew up with them would know about. Western chefs, no matter how much they studied Chinese cuisine, wouldn’t have that same bank of lifetime experience to draw from to invent such dishes…

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MAO TAI

…although I’m not sure this dish was worth inventing. This MAO TAI was a drink of hawthorn, lemongrass and passion fruit that I found particularly difficult to swallow. You have to grasp both ends of the container and tip your head back to get it down your throat. I was choking, inelegantly

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HAIRY CRAB SOUFFLE (only available during winter)

Winter being Hairy Crab season, Bo Innovation isn’t one to be left behind. But instead of a typical hot pot, they served the crab in soufflé form with aged chinkinang vinegar for a sharp kick. The restaurant did all the work for us (cracking shells and extracting meat is tricky), so all we had to do was spoon the shredded crab out of the fluffy, eggy soufflé and relish. It was delicious.

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House-extracted har mi oil from shrimps for the next dish…

Umami is the fifth taste, added by the Japanese into the basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter and salty

Umami is the fifth taste, added by the Japanese into the basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter and salty

UMAMI (Japanese-inspired) of toro (seared fatty tuna sashimi), and mixed noodles cooked in har mi (shrimp) oil. So much delicate flavour went into this; it was one of my favourites and again I wish I could have had more because it was SO GOOD but alas…

White truffle mushrooms used for the next dish

White truffle mushrooms used for the next dish

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White Truffle

White Truffle: a salty, incredibly rich and filling plate of duck egg yolk, “cheung fun” or steamed rice pasta, and yak milk cheese. Indulgent. RICH.

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BLUE LOBSTER: sichuan hollandaise, chili shaohsing consomme, chinese leek dumpling, charred corn

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Sweetbread is actually a culinary names for the thymus (also called throat, gullet, or neck sweetbread) or the pancreas (also called heart, stomach, or belly sweetbread), especially of the calf and lamb

Sweetbread: a savoury meat dish with oyster sauce, mountain yam, spring onion, ginger and kale. It doesn’t look great but it was actually piping hot and all meaty goodness.

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the street-food inspired but oh so haute cuisine SAGA-GYU

Another favourite, possible my ultimate fave: SAGA-GYU beef (melt in your mouth!!!) with black truffle and “cheung fung” (street food style rice noodle roll). This one was just WOW!!!

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ALMOND pudding, a cold and soothing sweet ending

ALMOND, an exquisitely light and smooth dessert of genmai, okinawa black sugar and cinnamon. Sweetness is on the just-right scale.

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You can bet I wolfed this down. The textures were irresistible

COCONUT is a dessert of palm sugar, coconut water, chocolate, pina colada, cherry, and pandan. Scrumptious

A trip to Bo Innovation is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime journey. For the first time in my history of tastings, I actually felt a tinge of sadness when I realised the meal was over, like the conclusion of a thoroughly enjoyed holiday.

Would I go back? Probably not. I mean yes if I could afford it, but it’s ridiculously out of reach for the average spending on food… like I said, once in a lifetime!

Bo Innovation

Shop 13,2/f, J Residence
60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai
(Enter via private lift entrance on 18 Ship Street)
+852 2850 8371

http://www.boinnovation.com

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