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Posts tagged Alvin Leung

Who had sex on the beach in Hong Kong?

Bo_Innovation_HK_smallLooking at the list of “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants“ (click here) remembered me on a fascinating evening I had two years ago at Bo Innovation in Hong Kong. This restaurant, whose 15th rank makes it possible to call it a front runner, is situated in a side street from Johnston Road in the Wan Chai district. It took me a while to find it, as there was no sign you could have seen from the street.

 

It was a hot ’n’ humid night, and there were some problems with the air-con. I was given a seat at the bar right next to the entrance, which allowed me to watch the goings-on in the narrow show kitchen area. The staff looked really cool. One heavily tattooed guy had quite long hair and his sunglasses on. With critical eyes he  inspected every plate that had come out of the kitchen, and every now and then he readjusted the look of the dishes. At first I thought this could be the boss of the house, Alvin Leung, known as the “Demon Chef”. But the founder of this already at that time highly talked-about place turned out to be in London to open a new branch there.

 

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What does this guy make so special, besides his look? Well, maybe the fact that not many chefs in the Chinese culinary business consider cooking as a creative art form. Chinese cuisine is in general very much bounded on traditions, much in contrary to European cooking philosophies. Leung combines both Chinese and European approaches, including molecular elements, and calls it “X-treme Chinese”. I am usually not so much convinced of molecular cooking styles, but there is no way to deny the highly artistical level of Leung’s cuisine. This counts both for its taste, respectively the mouth feel creating texture, as well as for its optical appearance.

 

On that night my culinary adventure trip started with the “Scent of the Victoria Harbor”: Fuming oysters that did not really look like oysters (see picture). I also had “Molecular”, which came as a mysterious ball, with a texture similar to jelly. It tasted like something very familiar. What was it? The menu helped me out: It tasted exactly like Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), the juicy dim sum dumplings with meat inside. I loved the caviar on a smoked quail egg in a “nest” of crispy taro. Leung furthermore combined both French and Cantonese signature dish on the very same plate: foie gras and mui choy, the mustard cabbage. The latter one came as an ice cream. It was an evening of surprises. The most figurative dish was Leung’s contribution to raise the awareness of red ribbon issues: “Sex on the beach” – not a cocktail but a jelly “condom” on a “sand” of crushed biscuits and a white chocolate shell.

 

 

The “chef’s table menu” consisted of 15 fascinating dishes. Listing all of them would not make sense, as they change over time. Probably none of these dishes are on today’s menu anymore, but I am sure the style of Leung’s cuisine has not changed. I found a very nicely done video dealing with Alvin Leung’s ideas:

 

www.nowness.com/day/2012/10/30/2556/demon-days 

 

What fascinated me, by the way, was the carefully selected and highly matching wine pairing that including among others sparkling sake, a German Riesling and a French Grenache Noir. This is absolutely worth pointing out, as from a Western point of view a proper pairing still is a huge deficit in Asia, even in such a world city as Hong Kong.

 

It would be nice to learn about current dishes there. Anyone who ate there recently? Please leave a comment.

 

Bo Innovation

Chef: Alvin Leung ( “Demon Chef”)

18 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong | Website