My 2nd visit to 4XFOUR event (earlier post on Chef Tom Kerridge here), this time round hosted by Chef Alvin Leung to try his “Bo x-treme Chinese Cuisine”. Chef’s restaurant “Bo Innovation” in Hong Kong was awarded 2 Michelin stars.
Dinner started around 7.45pm and appetizer was Tomato Pat chun sweetened vinegar, yellow cherry tomato with”Lam Kok” fermented Chinese black olive, tomato foam, green onion oil paired with Badoit. The small red cherry was bursting with juice inside and I loved the brownish coloured foam, although I didn’t figure out what it was.
The 2nd dish was supposed to be Dan Dan noodle when the menu was published for the event but it was replaced with Scallop Shanghainese “Jolo” sauce, crispy woba, peas on the day itself. I liked the crispy woba and peas but not the scallop which had a slightly dense texture. It wasn’t exactly seared to a nice crisp outer surface.
Foie gras “Mui choy” preserved Chinese mustard green was served next. The foie gras was nice and I liked the dehydrated bits of mustard green sprinkled at the side. The savoury ice cream was kinda too salty for me and I didn’t feel that it tasted anything like what it was supposed to be – “mui choy” flavoured ice cream.
The legendary Molecular “Xiao Long Bao” was finally served – its the signature dish of Chef Alvin. I’ve heard raving comments about this dish from friend and colleague who tried it during Savour Singapore (Gourmet Festival) when Alvin presented this dish. Perhaps this led me to have high expectations for this dish. Somehow after tasting it, I wasn’t wowed by this dish. I simply felt that I drank a liquefied “Xiao Long Bao” – not exactly satisfying since I didn’t get to eat any pork meat filling. I’m not sure if that’s what molecular gastronomy suppose to be and I think “molecular gastronomy” is also not clearly defined.
Chef Alvin’s version had the dumpling soup essence wrapped inside the sphere topped with a thin slice of red ginger. While the liquid tasted like a pork dumpling, to me the sense of touch – sensing the texture of meat is something that cannot be replicated by any molecular cooking method. However what impressed me was how intense and how long the pork dumpling flavour lingered in my mouth, long after it had flowed down my throat. It was as if the liquid was modified through nanotechnology such that the nanomolecules were able to penetrate deep into the sensory roots in my tongue.
Finally something more normal from the “Demon chef” – Cod Sichuan pepper hollandaise, shaoxing wine, chilli lobster broth, charred corn, leek. This is a nice fusion dish combining the use of hollandaise (used typically in French cuisine), sichuan pepper and shaoxing wine (used in Asian dish) in a single dish. The spicy lobster broth was delightfully tasty and the cod was firm and velvety.
Chef then appeared at the front kitchen top and explained that he would be making a “Mao Tai with lime juice Sorbet“. He explained that he would be adding liquid nitrogen to mixture of Mao Tai – chinese liquor with high alcohol content and “calamansi” to make a sorbet as palate cleanser for guests. The sorbet was very refreshing and surprisingly not too citrusy although the alcohol content was certainly quite powerful.
Last main dish for the night was Beef Australian wagyu beef, truffled beef tendon, Chinese chive, daikon, aromatic bouillon. Look at how pinkish the beef still was when its served. It had retained the tenderness and juiciness of the delicate beef, well-complemented by the light yet flavourful bouillon. Slurped up every single drop of the broth.
I’m pretty impressed that the food was served promptly yet well-paced. Compared to the earlier Tom Kerridge’s showcase whereby we only finished at 11pm, this session we already finished our desserts by 10pm.
Also notable was the improvement on management of utensils since my last visit during Tom Kerridge’s showcase. This time round the utensils were cleared and placed sequentially as planned and we wouldn’t need to bother the busy staff to get our missing utensils for us.
Now for the desserts. The original dessert listed was Ice kacang but it was replaced with Almond Genmai, black sugar, cinnamon. Personally I would have preferred to be able to taste Chef’s interpretation of our iconic Asian dessert. Nonetheless the Almond was a chinese-inspired dessert which resembled glutinous rice ball cooked in a unique combination of genmai and black sugar syrup.
Last dessert was Coconut Palm sugar, coconut, chocolate, pineapple. The coconut juice was encapsulated in the clear sphere and paired well with the palm sugar ice cream. Along with the sweetened pineapple and cocoa powder, this dessert was amazingly well-orchestrated. Each distinct flavour somehow managed to accentuate one other.
Chef Alvin did a customary walkabout to meet diners during the dessert serving. I guess being a celebrity chef made a difference. Compared to Tom Kerridge, there were visibly much more requests for photo-taking & autograph with Chef Alvin.
P.S I thought Chef looked slimmer in real person. The tv ratio was certainly unforgiving.
Other related posts:
- Chef Esaki Shintaro @ Mikuni
- Michelin Starred Restaurant – Nodaiwa, Tokyo
- Michelin Starred Restaurant – Narisawa, Tokyo
- Michelin Starred Restaurant – Bird Land, Tokyo
- Michelin Starred Restaurant – Quintessence, Tokyo
- Michelin Starred Restaurant – COI, San Francisco
- Bouchon, Napa Valley 1-star Michelin restaurant 2011