I wrote a much longer piece about Chinese food that’s raising the bar in London, but didn’t get to use many of the pictures of the food I ate at the fascinating Bo London. Founder and ‘Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung calls it ‘x-treme Chinese’ – see for yourself! Photos after jump:
We had the full Chef’s menu at 15 courses for 138 pounds. In Hong Kong, Alvin Leung has a two-Michelin-starred restaurant called Bo Innovation that uses very traditional Cantonese ingredients and dishes with modern, fusion-inspired techniques. For example, his ‘molecular’ xiao long bao takes that soupy Shanghainese dumpling we all love and reimagines it as a brothy ball in a gel wrapper. It’s as tasty as it is weird.
The thing is though, a lot of the pleasure you get from the food at Bo also comes from at least a bit of cultural reference – i.e., knowing what a xiao long bao is meant to look and taste like in the first place, or, like me, having a massive hit of nostalgia when confronted with a childhood classic gone all molecular gastronomy on yo’ ass.
So! In London, the restaurant may use Cantonese ingredients, but Alvin designs the menu with cool twists on uber-British themes – like rose gardens, B&Bs and of course, ye old steak and kidney pie.
Here are a few of the dishes we had, with photos by the equally delicious August Jakobsen and more to come when he touches them up and edits them down.
A comfortably sized, hand-dived scallop with its classic Cantonese accompaniment, the sugar snap pea – only it’s done as a foam on top. The sauce is made of fermented wine and soy, those crispy bits are a grain called woba, a little bit like rice
Meaty and gentle, with I think artichoke crisps. I love the plate carved with the characters for Demon Chef
WAGYU BEEF WITH CHEUNG FUN
Yes, the star of the dish here is a perfect medium-rare hunk of wagyu, paired with mushroom sauce – mushroom sauce like a boss, that is.
That’s sauce with delicate shimeji mushrooms and two strokes of an incredibly musky black truffle. Yum. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Then your carb is cheung fu – or steamed rice paper roll – a familiar order for any dim sum goer. For me, it’s a major childhood memory, especially the plain ones fried for breakfast, which I used to get with congee. Here we went a bit classier – the cheung fun is fried in black truffle soy.
The classic French dessert with a twist of coconut and a little tropical flower for art’s sake
Demon Brut bubbly
If you’re a demon chef, you’re not really going to be serving Moet are you? Here’s a bottle of Demon Brut, complete with Alvin’s logo of the Demon Chef brandishing a cleaver and a wine glass. He ordered exactly 666 bottles to be made in a French cellar then flown back to England. We had a glass each as a perfect post-dinner prandial.
Where the magic happens
Everything is cooked downstairs, but just before the chef’s table, this minimalist white tiled area is where the food gets plated and artistic flair is added in the form of truffle swirls and coloured foams.
PS. The cups!
Macchiato in a dynasty-inspired Demon Chef-strewn coffee cup.
I’ll definitely be updating this post with the other photos of the brilliant 14 courses we had! Eat for yourself at Bo London, 4 Mill Street, W1S 2AX, London