I found myself in Hong Kong for work recently and a bunch of us headed over to Ho Lee Fook in the lively Soho district. I’d heard good things about the creations of Taiwanese chef Jowett Yu, who spent some time at Sydney at Tetsuya and Mr Wongs, among others. Head down the stairs past the peacocks and waving cats and the basement dining space awaits – dark but with some bright wall lights.
There is plenty on the menu that looks inviting and it is hard to decide what to order. Our friendly server tells us that night they have the crispy skin chicken as a special – usually it needs to be ordered in advance – and tells us there is only one serve left. When we say we’ll take it, she does an Olympic worthy sprint to notify the kitchen so someone else doesn’t grab it. That’s what you call service. Once back, we give her our other choices and ask what she thinks. “How hungry are you”, she says, “because you really should add the beef short rib”. It is their signature dish she tells us, so it needs to be done.
There’s also a pretty impressive whiskey menu if you’re in for a big night.
We start with Mom’s “mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork” dumplings with a sacha soy dressing. These are plain yum with a nice chunky texture inside.
Then onto a unusual dish of grilled calamari, with a very clever touch of delicious quid ink onion jam, XO sauce, shishito peppers, and some spiced pumpkin seeds giving some texture. I did find it a little dry though, a drizzle of something over the octopus would have helped.
Simply done stir-fried greens – asparagus, broccoli, sugar snap peas – ensured that we felt sufficiently virtuous. So too did the twice-cooked green beans with pickled turnips, five-spiced tofu, Chinese olive; the beans had nice freshness and crunch.
Next came the Kurobuta pork char-siu. When we ordered this we were asked “lean or fat” – we opted for the lean but it was still juicy and very very tasty.
The shell fish oil was very distinct in the prawn lo mein, so a good dish for those who like robust flavours.
The special crispy skin chicken arrives. It has this slightly sour crumb sprinkled over it, I am not sure what it was but I loved it and the texture it added.
Then came the signature roast Wagyu short ribs. Knock out dish, adored the jalapeño purée and the green shallot kimchi it came with.
The deserts coming out looked great, but alas there was no capacity after that feast!