Shop 13, 2/F, J Residence (Entrance on 18 Ship Street)
60 Johnston Rd, Hong Kong
+852 2850 8371
Why did we dine here? – Bo Innovation is a molecular gastronomy Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong’s Wanchai District hidden away down an alley and upstairs. They were featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations TV show way back in 2008. Bo received two Michelin Stars in the latest edition of the Hong Kong Michelin guide, previously had one star. Chef Alvin Leung Jr, is a bit of a renegade and has attracted a lot of attention world wide. He was not in the kitchen on our visit.
We’ve been always tempted to try this restaurant but had not because we were worried about gimmicky molecular food. In 2013, after seeing them stay on the Michelin Star list for a while, and also having gone to most of the 2 and 3 star restaurants in Hong Kong, we decided it was time to give them a try.
Bo has a reasonable HK$288 or roughly US$40 lunch, making this a no-brainer to us. Of course after we selected all the optional dishes, our costs were far higher than this! Dinner costs several times more.
It was easy to make reservations by email although they require a credit card to hold it.
Bo Innovation has modern decor with abstract art and cool table pieces. The restaurant’s interior is fairly small with just 8 tables. Exterior patio dining is available for cooler days. There is a techy looking mosaic of the chef outside. His nickname in Chinese is Magic Chef or Demon Chef.
Insider Tip – Make reservations, come for lunch to lighten the bill
Cuisine – Modern Cantonese with molecular elements
Location – Wanchai, Hong Kong Island
Opened – 2008
Service – Impeccable. Bo Innovation had some of the best service we have had in a long while. The waiter knew the menu cold and helped us select the best options. We ended up trying almost everything on the menu. There were no worries about refills, plate changes, napkin folding, or any other service requests. They took care of everything and anticipated our needs. Wow!
Verdict – Bo Innovation could have been a gimmicky disaster and we had gone into the experience expecting far less. We can highly recommend this place for its innovative Chinese cuisine and excellent service. They take classic Chinese dishes to a new level, something that is fun for experienced Chinese food veterans. We received more food than expected, so do not over order.
Bo Innovation Signature Dishes – molecular xiao long bao, classic Bo dishes like Risotto.
Bo Innovation’s Lunch Menu allows you to select 2 dishes from their Dim Sum or classic Bo menu, a main course, a starch dish, and finally dessert.
Dinner is far more molecular than lunch. The menu slightly changes with the seasons.
Bo Innovation Set Lunch HK$ 288.00 (plus 10% service charge)
Lunch Main Course
• slow cooked, suckling pig, chinese vinegar, egg – The pig looked like a big mushroom but was a precut portion stuffed with lap cheung. Long cooked to a tender state it was a bit chewy still. Interesting but a bit meaty.
• pigeon, stuffed with chinese liver sausage, shiitake mushroom cake, chicken jus infused sour plum – It looked great and tasted great. Nice medium rare breast and leg. Nice little baby carrot.
• pan roasted scallop, crispy woba, peas, shanghainese “jo lo” ($100 supplement) – This scallop from Japan had some weird sauce flavors and a bit of crispy rice. We wouldn’t pay the supplement for this awkward dish.
• carabinero red prawn, “har mi”, “lo mein”, chili ($150 supplement) – Frankly not work the upcharge, this had 2 fresh and sweet prawns. Not big, medium sized, messy, and nothing special.
Starch and Dessert du jour – Nicely done homemade thin egg noodles provided the starch component. An alternate version was a nicer fried rice with roe, seaweed, scallop, and soy sauce dish.
Fresh strawberry ice cream with chocolate white cake was on the creamy side. Nothing wrong with this, but they probably should have done a play on a Chinese dessert like red bean soup or sago.
Lunch Dim Sum Selections:
• “har gau” black truffle XO (2 pcs) ($50) – Bo uses tiger prawns and a bit of truffles to make this different. The dumpling possessed a crunchy top and some solid fresh shrimp flavor.
• deep fried cuttlefish, kaffir lime sauce (2 pcs) ($50) – These large, nicely textured balls of fun were excellent. One bite and all the juice comes pouring out.
• chicken, pesto bamboo shoot spring roll (2 pcs) ($50) – Very crunchy and well made egg rolls, although we would concentrate on the other dishes.
classic “bo” dishes
• cauliflower risotto, black truffle, duck jus (v) ($50) – This faux rice possessed a grainy textured rice made of the vegetable along with a really nice duck gravy.
• black truffle “cheung fun” (v) ($50) – Anything with truffles will get our order. This had a light truffle flavor and smell, that added to the chewy texture of the noodles. They could have gone easier on the soy sauce.
• pan fried foie gras, mui choy ($230) – We had to order this dish because love foie and it is banned in California. The mui choy ice cream sounded gross but proved to be a nice, sweet savory accent to the rich foie. The foie was a bit dry and didn’t look too appetizing, but it hit the spot nonetheless.
• molecular xiao long bao (v) ($90) – was another dish we had to order. This fun little flavor explosion did not possess the texture of a dumpling (It was like a mochi ball), but sure did encapsulate its flavor profile. Definitely a must order dish.
(V) Can Be Made For Vegetarians
MTR: Wan Chai
Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?