Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bo London

I’m half Chinese and I spent the first 14 years of my life in Hong Kong, so naturally, I’ve had my fair share of Chinese meals. It’s the one cuisine I have constant cravings for and thanks to the top notch Chinese restaurants in London, I’ve never had a problem with satiating my appetite. I have, however, developed a dependency on Hakkasan Mayfair for my chinese-food-needs and so the opening of Bo London opened up the possibility of a new restaurant to be added to my list of go-to restaurants. I’ve dined at Bo Innovation in Hong Kong (the mothership of Bo London) and loved it. Alvin Leung is the first chef I’ve encountered to create gastronomic Chinese food and the results were impressive. So how does the London one compare? Yes, there were some hit and misses and there wasn't anything groundbreaking, but the meal was good, surpassing my expectations after reading some slamming reviews online. That being said, it was definitely not value for money (290 pounds for two—that’s 14 courses without any wine but including service), which may explain why the restaurant was only half empty. Still, I feel Bo London deserves a chance and if the 128 pounds price tag is too hefty, go for the 80 pounds “Ode to Britain” menu or even the 27 pounds lunch menu that gives you 3 dimsum dishes and a main. The best part of the meal is, despite it sounding like a lot (14 courses), you don't end the meal feeling stuffed and uncomfortable, which is very rare for such lengthy tasting menus.

White Garden-- Spring onion, avocado and lime mousse with dehydrated Enoki
This isn't the first time a chef has tried to serve "dirt", Fatduck and Noma have both done it before and theirs were much better. Here, the lime was overpowering and it just tasted really off. Not a good start. 

Bed and Breakfast-- Quail Egg, crispy taro crust with caviar
This was ok. I like the idea of it but it needed more flavour

Cloud-- cured mackeral, compressed cucumber, black sesame, vinegar and mist of rose
Cute presentation but I didn't like the mackeral and vinegar, the whole thing was too slimy for my liking

Foie Gras-- Pan seared with crispy vermicelli and lettuce wrap
Best so far, this was truly delicious, loved the "Abby" sauce that was drizzled on

Three Tomatoes-- (from the left) tomato braised in chinese rice wine vinegar, cherry tomato baked in filo with olive tapenade and tomato marshmallow with green onion oil
The first two were average, the marshmallow was a miss. 

Scallop-- Sashimi, sugar snap peas, crispy rice and wine
This was executed well

Dim sum-- Chilli crab fun gor and spicy lamb soup dumpling
This was one of my favourites, great flavours and juicy. The Chilli crab fun gor (left) was especially good. The skin of the spicy lamb soup was slightly thick, but the soup in it was spot on.
Hawthorn-- palate cleanser of tea with chili, mandarin orange sorbet, lemon grass meringue

Loved the mystique! After pouring the test tube of tea into the bowl, a cloud of dried ice appeared for the duration of the course.  Apart from that, it tasted fresh and sweet.
Cod-- with samphire and crispy seaweed. A solid piece of cod which I always marvel at how restaurants can make such a boring piece of fish taste so good. 

Sweetbread-- Braised in oyster sauce, sweet and sour pearl onion and artichoke puree
This paid homage to the ubiquitous "sweet and sour" flavour favored by westerners when ordering take away chinese. 

Angus Beef-- slow roasted in a 10 aromatic veal bouillon, spicy potato and chive jiaozi
Great soup and tender beef, although I question it's late positioning on the menu, seeing that it's more of a soup than a main.

Bai Jiu-- Chinese wheat liquor and fever tree tonic foam, lime parfait and liquorice caramel
An interesting use of Bai Jiu which is normally really overpowering. Here it's smell is only subtle and worked well with the rest of the ingredients

Coconut-- Palm sugar creme brulee, sour morello cherry compote and coconut milk
This was the best desert and according to Oliver who is a creme brulee fan, one of the best creme brulees he's had.

Petit Dim Sum-- decent, especially the "spotted dick" buns

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