Located in the previous location of Bo Innovation (now moved a few doors down to the massive spot formerly occupied by Madam Sixty Ate), Alvin Leung's newest restaurant, Bib n Hops, is a great little space revamped with urban graffiti, exposed brick and suspended Edison lighting. This place is super cool, and so is the staff, who all look like they're having a good time, singing along to the background gangster rap and dancing in the open-kitchen area led by head chef Yong Soo Do.
But this chef's food isn't cool – it's hot, and in all the best ways.
We first fell a little bit in love with the mung bean pancake ($98), made with stone-milled mung beans, bean sprouts and kimchi, with a layer of sausage sandwiched in the middle. It was served with a chilli aioli that was so perfectly spicy, we couldn't stop piling it on.
Three-Michelin-starred Chef Alvin Leung (in partnership with Chef Yong at Bib n Hops) told
us his favourite dish (full interview with both Chef Leung and Chef Yong here) was the tteokbokki ($98), and we could see why when this positively gorgeous, lasagna-like dish arrived,
with Korean sausage mixed in with soft rice cakes, fish cakes, mozzarella cheese and a bright, shiny 63-degree egg on top. Chef Yong's background in Italian cooking really comes through in this dish, with the rice cakes appearing like pieces of penne pasta and a carefully balanced taste spectrum that, despite its competing flavours, amazingly all shone through splendidly in each bite. The rice cakes settled down the explosive chilli on the tongue and the strong gochujang complemented the subtle fish flavours.
We couldn't resist trying one of each of the skewers and were not disappointed with any of the unique combinations. We tried the tender bites of bulgogi beef ($138) with a perilla pesto, the succulent and juicy octopus ($158), adorned luxuriously with a gochujang glaze, and the spicy chicken ($118) with a tangy Sichuan chimichurri.
A hearty bib n baps bowl ($148) finished us off in stunning fashion. The hot stone bowl was filled with warm pearl rice, pork belly and egg yolk, with a Peruvian twist that included the addition of avocado, tomato, red onion, carrot and a jalapeño aioli. This is a seriously killer dish. Pretty as a picture when it's first set down with its symmetrical strips of colour, it then becomes a beautiful hot mess of textures and tastes, with crisp pops of rice and a warm, satisfied feeling in every spoonful that makes it incredibly hard to stop eating.
With lunch sets that start from $108, we feel quite lucky that this place is situated so close to our office, as we plan on being frequent visitors.
2/F, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road (private lift entrance at 18 Ship Street), Wanchai, 2882 9128