BO Innovation 廚魔 | Hong Kong

Rating: ❤1/2

I love this scene in the movie "500 Days of Summer" where Tom goes to his ex-girlfriend Summer's party expecting to get back together with her but instead finds out the brutal reality that she is engaged to someone else. In the movie, his expections and the reality were shown in a powerful and emotional split-screen side by side. I went to BO Innovation with expectations as well - expectations as it was a 3-star Michelin restaurant and known for X-treme Chinese cuisine. I found out my reality recently when I visited the restaurant for lunch. 

The elevator entrace to the restaurant is actually located on Ship Street close to 22 Ships. The decor was airy and rather artsy with colorful canvas decorating the wall. There are 2 lunch set menus available - the chef menu for $780 and the set lunch for $288. We ended up choosing the set lunch with choice of 2 dim sum and a main course per person. I really wanted to try the molecular xiao lung bao as it was their signature dish so we ordered that separately for $90 each as well.

Molecular Xiao Long Bao (3.5/5) - the molecular xiao lung bao didn't look like a traditional xiao lung bao at all - rather it was cased in a gelatin shell with a strip of red vinegar on top. We were instructed to eat it straight from the spoon in one bite. The gelatin broke easily while releasing a warm and thick pork and ginger broth. The broth did not taste like xiao lung bao to be honest. It just tasted a bit salty and left us feeling dumbfounded. I wasn't sure what I just paid $90 bucks for but it sure wasn't worth 3-4 times over the price of a regular xiao lung bao. 
Dim Sum:
Chicken Pesto Bamboo Shoot Spring Roll (3.5/5) - the spring roll was really hot and crispy while the filling was full of chicken, asparagus, and pesto sauce. The pesto sauce didn't taste as strong or fresh as expected and I wasn't sure that the combination really worked so while it was a solid spring roll, it also wasn't impressive. 

Deep Fried Cuttlefish with Kaffir Lime Sauce (4/5) - the cuttlefish ball was nicely deep fried with a chewy and bouncy texture. The Thai lime sauce was refreshing and tart which enhanced the slightly sweet flavor of the cuttlefish ball in a great way. 
Har Gau Black Truffle XO (4/5) - you can never go wrong with truffle really. The shrimp dumpling was solid with a soft and thin skin while the shrimp inside was firm and flavorful. The XO sauce on top was spicy while the truffle was aromatic. While the combination was alluring, it also wasn't the best har gau I've had either. 
Black Truffle Cheung Fun (5/5) - I really enjoyed this dim sum. The cheung fun was soft and chewy while nicely cooked with strong flavors as it was salty and sweet at the same time. The truffle oil was very fragrant and went very well with the cheung fun.
Pan Roasted Scallop with Crispy Woba, Peas and Shanghainese Jo Lo (5/5) - the scallops were perfectly seared on the outside while the inside was still raw. The texture was perfect and juicy to eat. The woba was nice and crunchy while the "jo lo" sauce was delightful as it was tart and slightly spicy with a hint of peppercorn. This was the most impressive dish of our meal. 

+$100 supplement

Perfectly seared while raw on the inside
Slow Cooked Suckling Pig with Chinese Vinegar and Egg (3.5/5) - this dish arrived in a clay pot with the slow cooked suckling pig in the shape of a ball. I thought it looked like Shanghainese braised lion head almost. As I teared into the meatball, it came away easily revealing pulled pork that was tender and moist. The sauce was very acidic with a strong vinegar taste - almost a bit too strong. There was also an egg yolk that accompanied the dish similar to a tsukune which is a Japanese meatball with egg yolk as a dip. It didn't do much for the pork though due to the strong taste of the sauce, and the pork was already tender enough.

Fried Rice with Olive Vegetable (4/5) - the fried rice was nicely stir-fried as the rice was just dry enough and very flavorful. The olive vegetable was crispy like toasted seaweed so the texture was nice and crunchy. 
Kumquat Mousse and Orange Chocolate (3.5/5) - the dessert we had was a kumquat mousse with orange chocolate. The kumquat mousse was light and slightly tart with bits of kumquat. The orange chocolate, on the hand, was very rich and sweet. At first, I tried to alternate bites between each dessert but found that the chocolate overwhelmed the kumquat entirely. I think it was an oversight that they did not tell us to eat the kumquat first and then the chocolate, and I also wasn't sure why they were served together as they didn't really complement each other so they were really like 2 separate desserts.
Verdict - the reality is that while BO Innovation serves great and solid food, it also wasn't really that innovative or mind-blowing as one would expect from a 3-star restaurant. I mean the food was good, don't get me wrong, but whenever you try to reinvent the wheel, you have to climb over the hurdle and expectations of whatever you are trying to reinvent. In this case, it's Chinese cuisine and in HK there is no lack of great Chinese food. To charge such a premium over regular dim sum dishes like spring rolls and dumplings, you have to deliver more and beyond in unique and creative flavors to justify the value. Maybe it's because we didn't have their Chef Menu or dinner but I'm not really sure if I want to shell out $1000-$2000 to find out based on our lunch experience. 

BO Innovation
Shop 13, 2/F, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai 
2850 8371

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