Two-Michelin starred restaurant Bo Innovation returns true to its name, with a tasting menu that will open up conversations, impart you with art history knowledge and wow you with its custom-made tableware and innovative dishes.
There are always high expectations when it comes to fine dining, especially in a city like Hong Kong. Chef Alvin Leung understood the assignment when his two-Michelin starred restaurant Bo Innovation re-opened in Central’s H Code building after a two-year hiatus. The ‘Demon Chef’ was ready to come back full throttle to blow us away with his ‘X-Treme’ Chinese cuisine style and his new tasting menu, “The Masterpieces”.
And blow us away he did. The 10-course menu is centered around famous works of art, with each work reinterpreted to reflect the Chinese culture, through flavours, techniques but also nostalgia. It is also reflected in the décor, where you’ll find sculptures representing Lion Rock, dim sum, the game of Pai Gow and more.
“The Masterpieces” is a journey through taste, but it is the presentation and the interpretation that make the tasting menu stand out even more.
Tableware and props play an important role in Chef Leung’s tasting, as seen in Fish Magic, inspired by Paul Klee’s work. The savoury bites are presented in a clear box, with the upper layer encrusted with a fish skin drawing, while the inside of the box unveils a gold plated fish bone. The dishes are divided by section, depending on which part of the fish they represent. The citrus marinated halibut sashimi and crunchy sea grapes are draped across the top, while the trilogy of bites—monkfish liver (a star in its own right), crispy potato puff with bottarga sour cream and Sichuan pepper topped with trout roe, and dry Bombay duck bone with pine nuts and sweet and sour sauce—are propped on the golden fish bone.
The famous Dogs Playing Poker painting by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge received a Hong Kong makeover and turned into Dogs Playing Mahjong, as can be seen from the plate on which you will find a medley of textures, from geoduck smoked abalone, pickled Chinese radish and Indian lettuce stem to green pea purée and plum gel. Channel your inner mahjong player when looking for the cutlery, the drawer is located where you would normally find your mahjong chips.
Fans of Dali’s work Autumnal Cannibalism will appreciate the twisted fork and spoon handles of the silver serving plate and the harmonious autumn colours of the Australian M7 Wagyu beef with bone marrow, three types of carrots topped with chimichurri and beef sauce, as well as the aged maple-glazed duck breast and beautiful eight treasure pudding combining duck fat, duck meat, salted egg yolk, chestnut and more.
OPEN TO INTERPRETATION
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when it comes to art, so is interpretation. By combining art with gastronomy, Chef Leung seeked to open up discussion amongst diners, as he demonstrated with his take on Scream, a painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. The work is said to represent melancholy, though when paired with Bo Innovation’s signature slow cooked abalone, medium cooked egg yolk, Robuchon-style mung bean purée and caviar, one could interpret the painting differently, leaving the hidden message up for discussion.
The Biblical story of The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man is reserved for the grand finale: Forbidden Fruit. It has always been said that, had Adam and Eve been Chinese, they would have reached for the snake instead of the fruit. It therefore seemed fitting that a marshmallow apple cider snake should be laying across the last dessert bowl, which contains an array of apple-based sweets—from frozen pink lady sorbet to apple crumble—complete with echoes of oohs and ahhs bouncing from neighbouring tables.
Plot twist, this isn’t where the meal ends. For a last interactive experience, the tables are turned and you are handed your own canvas, brush and palette dotted with the (edible) colours of the rainbow. So, what will your masterpiece look like?
Bo Innovation | 1/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger St, Central, Hong Kong