Bo Innovation is Alvin Leung’s ‘Cantonese’ restaurant utilizing modernist techniques and on occasion Western ingredients. This is a report of a recent tasting menu lunch.
Gai dan jai/ egg waffle with Iberico ham and scallion. A savory version of the Cantonese street food egg waffle, which I snacked on throughout the meal. Tasted ok.
A morel mushroom flake, which was smokey and slightly bitter with a tender piece of iberico ham that was aged 48 days on top of a relatively piece of bland kinki sashimi and garlic tofu with potato and garlic sauce. Somewhat bland dish.
Shrimp oil made from simmering dried shrimp in vegetable oil for 48 hours to be drizzled onto the next dish. Fragrant.
The wonton/ ravioli, filled with Brittany blue lobster with truffle paste and pieces on top, was very savory and delicious. The lobster was also made into a tartare with pieces of sun dried tomatoes in the dish. The shrimp oil, which I liberally drizzled onto the dish, also added to the taste.
Corn with browned pine nut, walnut mixed with corn sauce. Pat chun vinegar from Hong Kong was added to the sauce. The light yellow piece on top was made from sweet corn (and tasted like corn) and the brown piece was made from roasted cauliflower marinated with pomelo vinegar. The sauce had a sweet, nutty taste that was pretty complex and tasty.
Molecular xiao long bao. The various tastes of a typical XLB was made into the juicy blob- pork slow cooked into a condensed broth and made into a ball that burst when bitten into, with a red stripe of vinegar soaked ginger on top. It tasted somewhat close to a XLB. The technique was admirable, though I think a regular XLB would do just fine for me.
Fermented vegetable (mui cai) icecream. The icecream was pretty close to a salted caramel ice cream with the mui cai providing the saltiness and a bit of sharpness from the Zhenjiang vinegar. The tasteless cherry was marinated with a mild Zhenjiang vinegar. The mushy texture of the cherry didn’t quite work for me, perhaps its a result of the marinating. The foie was there, but had a tough time blending in.
Mou tai with the butterfly pea flower providing the blue color and the hawthorn adding a slight tangy sweet taste. Nice.
Suckling pig leg was perfect roasted- succulent and tender inside and crispy outside. Perfectly marinated. Fatty, rich, and delicious. The Japanese water veg was dressed with ginger and Zhenjiang vinegar as dressing. It was pretty delicious, with a bit of sharpness and sweetness. The pineapple was roasted on a split with Sichuan peppercorn added to the sauce though I didn’t detect any. Not sure if one was to combine the three components- pig, veg and pineapple- in specific ways.
A locally made Chan Chi Kee knife was provided to cut the leg.
This dish was a play on the local dish abalone chicken congee. Carnaroli rice aged for 9 years was cooked al dente (a bit firm for me for rice) with chicken oil/ soup into a risotto. Impossibly rich and decadent by itself, and more so with the addition of shaved foie and abalone.
What was described to me in Cantonese as ‘gui yeuk’ was the substitute to shark fin. Mango sorbet was tangy, sweet and delicious on top of a coconut base with some dried mango sprinkled on top.
Overall the meal was solid. There wasn’t a dish that soared to Hong Kong skyscraper heights but there were three that stood out for me- the pig, the ravioli and the corn dish. Flavors and seasonings were measured. Leung was not in the house. Kudos to the kitchen for starting something different that few were/ are doing with Cantonese cuisine, though I’d like to see more memorable dishes/ flavors on the lunch tasting menu.
Service was attentive with lots of servers and food runners. and lots of cooks in the kitchen. The server’s knowledge of the dish was ok, but he needed to ask the kitchen a few times when probed. As soon as one dish was finished, another appeared.
Hong Kong oldie music was playing in the dining room- Paula Tsui, Roman Tam, etc.
Kitchen, with glass windows to the dining room:
Tasting menu, which was what I had:
Set lunch menu: