It all started some 3 years ago when the first HK Michelin Guide was released and I spotted this Michelin 2 stars restaurant right on! Molecular gastronomy was pretty new at that time and attracted much attention worldwide. I was really curious about this restaurant and wanted to try it so much. However, I reckon this is a fine dining and interesting experience that I really want to share with someone special who appreciates fine food and dining experience as much as I do. I was lucky enough to able to meet this someone and finally we had a delightful dinner here last night.
Bo Innovation is not like some other fine dining places which are notorious for being very difficult to book (e.g. Macau Robuchon, Tosca etc). We called to make a booking a few days ago and still managed to get a table at the prime dining time on a saturday night.
We ordered the tasting menu as this is the only set that comes with the Japanese wagyu beef which we would love to try. Important to mention is that their specialists explain each dish to us (how it was made and what it is made of) to enhance the experience.
The first appetizer is HK style pancake~ I have always had a special fondness for kai dan jai since I was a child. However, this kai dan jai is salty with bits of beacons inside. I think it's interesting although I would say HK style pancake is better sweet than salty. However, this is good enough as a supplement for bread.
The second appetizer is Tomato cooked in three ways - cherry tomato slow-cooked with pak chun sweet vinegar, crispy tomato with lam kok puree and tomato mashamellow with chinese parsley oil. The best is the cherry tomato, it was really fresh and when you bite it, the fresh tomato juice mixed with the sweet vinegar burst out and fill your mouth with freshness and sweetness with a hint of sourness. REally refreshing. the mashamellow is interesting... however the texture is actually more like a thick foam instead of the texture of the real candy mashamellow. it has weak tomato taste and strong parsley oil taste.
The third one is Iberico 36 - italian boar ham preserved for 36 months, wrapping Korean vermicelli cooked in morel sauce. There is some foam on top of the whole thing but I forgot what it was made of. This is one of my favorite dish because the ham was really good. The saltiness and fatness is just right. And I liked that it is not very thin cut (unlike parma ham), so a bite size of the whole thing is already very satisfying. The vermicelli has mild morel (fungus) taste that compliments the saltiness of the ham. Very good!
And then follows by Foie Gras - a must have in all fine dining menus and my all time favorite! The foie gras was cooked in the hk style bbq pork way with caramel in replacement of the bbq sauce. There is a mui choy (chinese preserved vegetables) ice-cream as side. I think the dish is great and daring. It is daring to mix mui choy with foie gras, who could have thought the two so remotely related food can mix together? I think the effect is good. We would not say foie gras goes better with mui choy than caramelised apple (which is typical side for foie gras in french cuisine). But I think the tastes of mui choy and foie gras do compliment each other. And of course the fact that the mui choy is ice cream helps to dilute the grease of the foie gras. For the foie gras, I do not think it tastes much different from pan fried foie gras. But the texture is quite "firm" - you can cut it into pieces without some tiny pieces lingering between (which normally happens for pan fried - as the sides are cooked but the interior are not as cooked). I like it!
The fifth one is the Cod fish. I think this one is the least impressive. There is some fried seaweed on top, some edible flowers and some jelly (which I forgot the flavor) as sides. But the cod fish still taste like cod fish. It is tender, but I guess that's it. The presentation is lovely though.
Then the Molecular (Xiao Long Bao) - they extracted essence from xiao long bao ingredients (pork, soup and pak choy) and wrapped the essence inside a transparent thin skin made from edible chemical. The pink thing on the top is a slice of ginger soaked in vinegar. It is of course interesting and is one of their most famous award winning dish. I must say xiao long bao's taste itself is not very distinctive (just think, a lot of shanghainese buns and dumplings actually have ingredients that taste like those of xiao long bao). So, if they do not specify the dish is related ot xiao long bao, I would not have associated the two things together. But with their introduction in mind, the "dumpling" does taste like xiao long bao made in an innovative dumpling skin. I appreciate the idea much. Again, its all about the idea. I bet a lot of people would find crystal jade's xiao long bao taste much better than this dish as xiao long bao. But I guess the point is not to make the most delicious xiao long bao. Also, the content inside the skin cannot be too hot such that the chemical skin would not burst. So cant really expect this dish to taste like a delicious xiao long bao with hot pork juice bursting out.
The seventh appetizer is the Scallop with lime leaf sauce (bitter), grape jelly (sweet), passionfruit juice (sour) and shichimi potato (spicy). The dish has the cheesy meaning of presenting the flavors of life (sweet sour bitter spicy). The scallop is very well cooked, the sides are crispy and the interior is still raw like sahimi. I certainly loved the grape jelly as I like sweet things. The lime leaf sauce is not bitter enough, but it is very refreshing. The presentation is alos very good with all the colours.
This one is Century Egg - a very playful dish. We were forewarned that this dish is just for fun and not for taste. Haha basically there is nothing you could chew or drink. The bottom part is sauce made from preserved egg and ginger soaked in vinegar, they then put some dry ice into it such that bubbles formed from the carbon dioxide with the taste of the sauce - all you do is to spoon the bubbles and taste them. The bubbles kept forming and bursting - a very dynamic dish. And unlike the xiao long bao, preserved egg and vinegarised ginger do have a distinctive taste so I could easily recognise that even just taste the bubbles. It's fun!
Finally, after eight dishes of appetizers, here comes the main. We chose the Saga-gyu Beef (the Japanese wagyu beef, grade 4) (HKD500 supplement) and the pigeon (HKD150 supplement). The beef is quite pricey but I do not think it is outrageous. The beef is very tender and soft (because of all the fat it has!) The beef itself is very good, so I do not think it is difficult to make a good dish from it. It comes with cheung fun (chinese vermicelli roll) in black truffle sauce. Yea cheung fun is nice. haha but the beef does trigger us to look for some fries after the dinner... Pigeon is nice, they chop it into sever pieces and bones removed. Again, pigeon is itself tasty, so not very difficult to make a good dish from it.
But yea both are very satisfying choices of main.
The dessert is pineapple crust (the pineapple crust you can find in pineapple bun, but this one is much more crispy), with butter cream ice cream and three pieces of pineapples with different spices., and pineapple puree. It's delightful! but the most impressive thing is the yuen yeung drink (mix of milk tea and coffee) - they managed to keep the coffee cold on one side and the milk tea hot on the other, together in the cup! It's the best yuen yeung I have ever tried!!! We are so curious how this could be done (how the two liquids would not mix together) but of course it's trade secret!
Another dessert is banana ma lai go and some homemade chocolates and macroons and some traditional hk candies and biscuits. IT's interesting. Although I cant finish all, but I did take away the bak to candy (Big rabbit candy)... hehe remind me so much of my childhood!
In summary, it's a great experience that I would recommend anyone who is into dining to try. They use fine ingredients, cook well, in innovative ways and adopt a lot of hk style cuisine elements in designing the dish. This idea is good to local like me as it reminds me of my childhood and the hk cuisine elements they adopt are those a lof of hk people love. It is also good to foreigners, visitors as they could experience hk cuisine and molecular gastronomy - one stone 2 birds!
Hot and cold yuen yeung (milk tea and coffee)! Iberico 36,Saga-gyu Beef,Pigeon
Date of Visit: Oct 08, 2011
Spending per head: Approximately HK$1400Other Ratings:
Value for Money 4