Ho Lee Fook | Jowett Yu | Restaurant | Hong Kong

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Ho Lee Fook HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Hong Kong
Open: Dinner Tue - Sun
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +852 2810 0860
Address: Ground Floor, 1-5 Elgin St
Hong Kong
Country: Hong Kong

Ho Lee Fook is the lovely new restaurant established by Jowett Yu in Hong Kong's Central district right near Hollywood Road. The food contains personal interpretations of food from across Asia, all cooked with skill and imagination.
When you approach the Elgin Street venue you see the busy chefs in the kitchen on the entrance level providing a sort of street theatre in the open kitchen. You are warmly greeted and are then taken downstairs to the basement level to the restaurant proper.
We were happy to leave it to chef Jowett to choose the dishes for us because we were unfamiliar with the menu - and we were so glad we did because he sent out a perfectly pitched, very balanced meal that left us satisfied without being over full.
The first dish comprised raw local hamachi, cucumber, crunchy puffed buckwheat and lemon jam on the side of the plate as a condiment. There was great balance and lots of flavour in this dish - it was a great start to the night.
Next we were treated to a dish described on the menu as 'Mom's mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork' dumplings with sacha soy dressing. Deep down we're sure it was reading the name of this dish that made us want to eat here and if didn't let us down. We learned later from Jowett that sacha is a Taiwanese sauce made from fried onions and sun dried brill.
The next dish was almost vegetarian and was completely delicious. Cauliflower and Brussels sprouts which, in the great tradition of dishes listed in the vegetable section of a Chinese menu, had some truly delicious maple bacon. Plenty of chilli spice as well. The vegetables were perfectly cooked and made a pleasant break from protein.
Next came a perfectly cooked half of a roast goose. The breast meat sacrificed a little to get the most juicy thigh meat. This bird seemed to have done some work - plenty of muscle and not too much fat, but with deep flavours. The juices at the bottom of the plate were especially good.
A bowl of rice straight out of the little book of comfort food was sent down. Taiwanese style Lu Ro Fan consisted of 5 grain rice, pork and pickled daikon. The sort of thing you crave after a night of drinking or when you want to eat something that just provides pure pleasure. This was a memorable dish and became even more memorable as the fatty pork did its job of coating the grains to make them even more tasty.
Maybe this last dish had lulled us into a sense of comfort and our palates needed waking up! The chef sent down a curve ball which was just perfect for the game we were playing. A tangy, spicy, soup loaded with delicious local clams and shitake was sent to the table and this was a perfect way to "begin the end" of the procession of savoury courses. This dish had a Vietnamese inspired broth flavoured with tamarind and lemongrass. It was light and refreshing with complexity from the herbs which included the "rice paddy herb" called ngo om. Someone thinking Western thoughts might have thought this should come earlier, like a western entrée, but after the richness of the goose and the filling rice it was exactly at the right time.
This revived us for the last savoury course of prawn lo mien with shellfish oil, grilled shallots, and crisp garlic.
And then a refreshing last course of Granny Smith apple granita, Calpis sorbet, Mochi and Koji jelly (especially good). It was cool and refreshing and we now know what Calpis is!
Such an interesting meal - of no one cuisine but clearly drawn from many different experiences and interests. It was an excellent example of a chef understanding the needs of his diners and sending out a fascinating array of dishes that we would have struggled to have chosen from the menu to provide the balance and excitement that we experienced by leaving the choice to him.

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