The Travelling Table: Lunch at Bo Innovation

By franco on 4 July, 2009

Ox Tail Xiao Lung Bao from Bo Innovations
Ox Tail Xiao Lung Bao

I’m in Hong Kong and I’m feeling a bit daring.

With his long, jet black hair, tattooed arms and his cutaway chef’s jacket, one could easily mistake Chef Alvin Leung for a retired rock star rather than what he is known for today, the celebrated head chef and owner of Bo Innovation.

After enthralling dinner guests at his private home, Chef Leung had an inspiration and decided to open a private kitchen. Private kitchens are a long-standing trend in China in which amateur cooks open their kitchens and homes to paying guests. This way, these would-be restaurateurs avoid not only the pitfalls of astronomical rental prices but also expensive government fees. In 2003, Bo Innoseki was born. Five years on and both Chef Leung and his idea for a private kitchen have grown and evolved.

Black Truffle Cheung Fun from Bo Innovations
Black Truffle Cheung Fun

Once, Bo Innoseki. Now, Bo Innovation. The once private is now a sleekly designed, 58 seater restaurant in Hong Kong’s Wai Chai district. And after only five years, Chef Leung’s idea was awarded two stars by the inaugural edition of the Hong Kong/Macau Michelin Guide–one of only seven restaurants in the guide who can claim such an honor. Here is an interesting note. In the history of the Michelin Guide, there have only been two restaurants helmed by (mostly) self-taught chefs that have won stars: one is Chef Leung and the other is no less than Chef Heston Blumenthal of the revered Fat Duck. An amazing achievement by Chef Leung, an amateur cook whose day job was acoustics engineering.

The lunch begins with a choice of dim sum dishes, a luxurious twist on two tea house favorites. Normally served with a stuffing of pork, Bo Innovation takes a different approach to the ‘soupy’ dumpling. Their Xiao Lung Bao is stuffed with a filling of shredded oxtail, taking this common dish to a completely new direction. If that was not enough, each dumpling is topped with a dollop of extravagant Arvuga caviar. The hawker stand staple Cheung Fun is given its own improvement with the addition of black truffles. An appealing yet far too subtle flavor.

Roasted Duck Char Siu from Bo Innovations
Roasted Duck Char Siu

Next is the main course. Char siu is a dish of barbeque pork. But at Bo Innovation, this common roast is made with succulent duck. Served on a bed of thinly sliced bamboo shoots coated in pesto sauce, theses cuts of Roasted Duck Char Siu are covered in sweet barbeque sauce and topped with a tangy coulis of pureed mandarin.

To close this delicious meal are two desserts du jour. The first dessert is a little cornet topped with a scoop of Kumquat and Butterscotch Ice Cream. Light and refreshing, one wishes there was more. And finally to cap the meal, an interesting Black Sesame Drink infused with soda, served in shot glass and sipped with a little, black straw. Savor it slowly because it disappears quickly.

Black Sesame Drink from Bo Innovation
Black Sesame Dessert Drink

Bo Innovations has been touted the El Bulli of Asia. While Chef Leung has created a sophisticated dining experience at Bo Innovation, I honestly can’t agree or disagree with that claim. However, what I do understand from this little taste is that Chef Leung has taken his unbridled passion for Chinese cuisine and turned it on it head, creating a menu is not only intriguing but delightful delicious as well. I have only scratched the surface of what is possible at Bo Innovation. A more extensive return meal is a not option, it is a necessity.

Bo Innovations

Shop 13

2nd Floor J Residence,

60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai

Hong Kong

(Private life entrance on 18 Ship Street)

Telephone: (852) 285 0837



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  • JULY 5, 2009 10:17 AM

    goodfor2 said...

    how much did everything cost?

  • JULY 6, 2009 6:35 AM

    Miguel said...

    NIce...I've been wanting to try this place. Hopefully my next trip I'll get to try it.

  • JULY 6, 2009 9:52 AM

    Anonymous said...

    Had dinner in Bo last May and I was impressed with what I had. Although there were some misses in the multi-course meal, the overall taste experience was excellent. Some of the the memorable dishes were the salmon, quail egg and caviar topped taro puff, wagyu beef with truffle cheung fan, and the freeze dried foie gras. Total bill was HK$1650 with wine pairing. Expensive but well worth it.

  • JULY 12, 2009 10:33 PM

    Franco said...

    Hello good for 2,

    Hmmm. If I remember correctly, a quick lunch for both of us cost over US$120. But I'm not quite sure about that. Sorry. :(

    Hi Miguel. I highly recommend it. Honestly, I wish I had more time for a longer meal. The Chef's menu looked so much more interesting than our abbreviated lunch.

    Hello Anon. Thanks for sharing. I'm definitely going back for a more in-depth experience. :)

  • APRIL 1, 2010 4:33 PM

    Anonymous said...

    I'm pretty sure Thomas Keller is another self taught Michelin star holder...

  • FEBRUARY 26, 2011 5:26 PM

    Anonymous said...

    i beg to differ.. but Thomas Keller was trained in France.