REVIEW

Bo Innovation

Although the cuisine at Bo Innovation is described somewhat ludicrously as “X-treme Chinese Cuisine”, we suppose that’s as good a name as any for the molecular gastronomy-influenced fusionist romp through classic Chinese dishes and flavors that one will experience upon dining.  The website rather immodestly likens British-born Chef Alevin Leung Jr. to Picasso, insofar as his cuisine breaks down traditional Chinese food to its bare essence and uses it to create new interpretations in modern forms.  The classic example is Leung’s signature “xia long bao”, traditionally a kind of soup dumpling filled with pork mince in a flour skin, in this case refracted into a smooth gelatinous ball that explodes with concentrated pork flavors when bit into.  Though delicious, its spherification technique owes more than a little to Ferran Adrià’s liquid olives.

Leung clearly delights in the element of surprise and in mixing European ingredients or flavors with Cantonese, Hangzhou and Sichuan dishes.  There is foie gras dim sum, black truffle Cheung fun, langoustine in a “Sichuan hollandaise” and egg waffles, an iconic Hong Kong street food but filled with Iberico ham and English custard.  The most striking thing about the dishes at Bo Innovation is not the sublimity of their flavors (only a few reach this level), but how perfectly harmonious the different elements are.  Each dish feels remarkably balanced and lingers in the memory.  Dan Dan Noodles somehow (miraculously) balances chili pepper and ikura.  The best dish was a perfectly cooked red fish, served with Yunnan ham, mandarin peel, potato, shiitake and an onion puree.

Bo Innovation is, indeed, innovative, but it is also not above gimmickry bordering on lunacy: one of Leung’s dishes, called “Sex on a Beach”, involves an edible condom made out of a konjac and kappa, which is filled with a honey and ham mixture and laid on powdered shitake mushroom “sand”.  There must be people in the world that go for this sort of thing, but we think creative crassness is hardly a virtue.  And the wine list is bracingly overpriced and severely limited in by the glass offerings. However, the service is superb, among the best we’ve encountered in a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong.  The interior design is bizarre and a little grandiose, but in keeping with the style of the food. There is also an outdoor deck for dining in cool autumn evenings.

Somewhat hilariously, the Michelin Guide awarded Bo Innovation 3 stars in its 2014 guide; it's hard to know quite what to say about such an honor.  The restaurant isn't remotely in the same league of any Michelin 3 star restaurant in France or the United States, and is orders of magnitude less impressive than comparable restaurants like Alinea, Atera or Corton.  But it's part of the general pattern of the Michelin Guide grading Hong Kong restaurants on an (increasingly steep) curve.  Despite its flaws, Bo Innovation is one of the more interesting restaurants in Hong Kong and certainly worth at least one visit for any aficionados of molecular gastronomy.

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INFORMATION

Wan Chai
Shop 13,2/f, J Residence
60 Johnston Road
+852 2850-8371
Mon-Fri, noon-2:30pm, 7pm-late; Sat, 7pm-late
    Alvin Leung Jr., Chef

    TAGS

    • Hong Kong
    • Chinese
    • Cantonese
    • Hang Zhou
    • Molecular Gastronomy
    • Sichuan
    • Al Fresco
    • BYOB Corkage Fee: $500HKD
    • Chef's Table
    • Private Dining Room Private Dining Room: 12 seated
    • Tasting Menu

    OTHER REVIEWS

    • Michelin Guide : ★★★ (2015)
    • Zagat : 20 (2008)
    • Hong Kong Tatler - 78
    • Review History...