Restaurant review: Ho Lee Fook, Central - pan-Asian
Noisy newcomer is making a name for itself with great flavours
It would be easy to just dismiss Ho Lee Fook as a trendy Asian-fusion place with a provocative name, but that would be ignoring the fact that it serves good food.
The hostess leads you past the open kitchen (with an exterior wall laid with mahjong tiles) down the stairs to the basement space, where, when it's full, the noiselevel can be deafening from people trying to talk over music that's too loud.
With the menu description of "mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork" dumplings (HK$88) we expected, well, mostly cabbage and a little bit of pork, but the thin wrappers turned out to be filled with quite a lot of minced pork. Fried chicken mid-wings with shrimp sambal (HK$88) were crisp and moist.
From the raw section of the menu, we chose the Yunnan-style wagyu steak tartare (HK$138). We weren't sure which part was Yunnan, because the hand-sliced beef, with fish sauce, lime juice and fried shallots, tasted more Thai. It came with cassava chips (the accommodating staff gave us extra so there was one for each of us) which provided a crunchy contrast.
The roast platter (HK$320) was a generous portion of Kurobuta pork char siu, soy chicken and roast goose. The char siu had a more savoury flavour, rather than a sweet glaze, but we like a fattier cut. The soy chicken wasn't any better than you can find at standard siu mei (roast meat) shops, but the goose was excellent, with moist, sweet meat, crisp skin and enough flavour that it didn't need the accompanying plum sauce.
We liked the pork san choi bao (HK$128) — lettuce leaves that we filled with a light mixture of minced pork, garlic sprouts and corn kernels, and which came with toppings of fresh herbs, sriracha sauce, cucumber kimchi and pickled cabbage. Roast wagyu short rib (HK$388) was delicious and indulgent, with succulent, tender, well-flavoured meat.
Ho Lee Fook, 1 Elgin Street, Central, tel: 2810 0860. About HK$290 without drinks or the service charge