Daring Chinese fusion food that’s definitely not for purists
After remaining a fusion-cuisine desert for the longest time, Hong Kong has seen a spate of recent openings offering contemporary and innovative interpretations of Chinese and Asian food. Ho Lee Fook, helmed by Sydney-based, Taiwanese-born chef Jowett Yu, who cut his teeth at the famed Tetsuya, is the latest to launch, serving up quirky Chinese cuisine with pan-Asian and European influences.
Ho Lee Fook boasts a cavernous space featuring an open kitchen on the ground level and a basement dining-cum-bar area, with moody lighting, slate grey walls and ebony furniture lending a clubby feel, together with grungier touches such as calligraphy calling to mind the work of the revered King of Kowloon as well as street scene illustrations by Jonathan Jay Lee.
Despite not being extensive, the menu, with its unorthodox combinations, is intriguing. We begin with Mom’s ‘mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork’ dumplings with sacha soy dressing ($88). The paper-thin wrap contains a nice, crunchy combination of chopped cabbage and pork, as well as a hint of tang from the dressing and a tinge of spice from the chopped chilli. It’s hearty but not filling.
We move onto the ‘raw’ selection and try the hamachi, cucumber, lemon jam, horseradish and puffed buckwheat ($168), presented like an ‘ahi poke’. All the ingredients come together to provide an interesting combination of tastes and textures.
We then try the shredded chicken salad with lettuce heart, cucumber, Sichuan pepper and strange flavour dressing ($88), in which we find the robust peppers overpowering the dressing.
Finally, we try the roast wagyu short ribs, jalapeno puree, green shallot kimchi and soy glaze ($358), a love-hate affair. We adore the succulent marbled beef served off the bone, gently glazed with a sweet soy flavour with crispy edges but the accompanying kimchi seems superfluous, despite the lift from the jalapeno puree.
Overall, the creations at Ho Lee Fook are delicious, daring and a solid new addition to the city’s burgeoning fusion curiosities – although it may not be one for the purists. Leslie Chan
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1 Elgin Street
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