Chef Alvin Leung is no stranger to Hong Kong’s culinary scene, with his creative flare and bold approach to dining. As the pioneer of the ‘X-treme Chinese’ cuisine, his Michelin-starred restaurants are famous for their immersive dining experiences showcasing Chinese ingredients prepared in fabulous ways.
Our recent tasting of the new set menu ‘The Masterpieces’ at the reopened Bo Innovation is something we have been looking forward to, especially when each course is inspired by masterpieces of art.
Pumpkin soup with gold flakes, as part of the “Soup by Andy” arrangement
Starting off the dining experience is an array of “soups”, fittingly tied to Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell soup can paintings. And in Chef Leung’s fashion, what you see is not what you eat. The range of “soups” include pumpkin, French onion, tomato and lobster. Beautiful (and mobile) displays aside, these small bites set the tone of what to expect for the rest of the evening – surprises.
The third course – Fish MagicThe Fish Magic dish is intriguing… from the use of serving vessels and in the ways different fish (and fish parts) are prepared. The lightly citrus-marinated halibut is fresh, sweet and firm, and is fitting to be the first of four bites in this dish. Our pallet gradually built up with the silky smooth Ankimo (monkfish liver), followed by bottarga with potato and chilli mayo, and deep fried Bombay duck bones glazed with a hint of sweetness and savoury, and topped with smoked trout roe. I was hoping the bones to be crispier for the finishing bite, but the dish in its entirety takes you a journey that is no small feat to execute.
The Birth of Venus: Grilled Hokkaido scallop with seaweed and ponzu
One of our favourite dishes is the grilled Hokkaido scallop. The freshness of the scallop is evident – it’s sweet and succulent. And the chef did justice to grill just enough to char the surface with a light caramelised crust and leaving the ingredient to show off its best.
Chicken Picasso: Stuffed Chicken Wings
Another of our favourites is the chicken course. The display alone is worth paying attention to – wings on a chicken-shaped sculpture. The stuffing is a surprise – snow fungus, which does not naturally have a flavour but definitely offers a crunchy bite that is unexpected and rarely used as stuffings. The skin on the wings absolutely elevates the dish. It is light, crispy, fragrant and glistens with just the right amount of maple syrup. We would like to have a bowl of the skin to-go, please.
The Garden of Eden in 3 types of apples: Pink Lady, Fuji, Granny Smith
There are two dessert courses and we love the apple three-way (technically it is The Garden of Eden dish using three different types of apples prepared in different ways). The apple sorbet is exceptionally smooth and silky, and has the right tang, sweetness and clean finish, just as a sorbet should be. The apple crumble is delightful and offers the home-made familiarity. The surprise in this dessert dish is the apple cider vinegar foam. Foam on a plate serves to give a hint of taste but not so much as to be the main focus. And the apple cider vinegar foam here does just that and it is the perfect note to lift this dessert from the seemingly common ingredients into something special.
It would be a disservice to review all the dishes here, as half of the fun is discovery. What you can expect when dining at Bo Innovation are surprises and theatre. Some are more authentically delivered than others. Compliments to the service staff, who truly work as a team and seamlessly offer a welcoming and pleasant experience. What I admire most is the creativity and thoughtfulness behind each dish, each display (there are so many serving vessels that I would love to take home), and the reveal by the service staff. A lot of thoughts have gone into planning and execution. You can taste it and feel the playfulness on full display. It is also a clear display of Chef Leung’s love for his hometown, Hong Kong. Hats off to that!
At $2,000 per person (plus 10% service charge, drinks not included) for the 11-course meal, it is not a cheap evening. But one never goes to Bo Innovation for everyday dining. There are some hits and some misses. I feel that given a few months, with some fine-tuning, one will enjoy an evening filled with surprises and delight.
1/F H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, 2850-8371
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.