The long waited Ho Lee Fook has finally opened in Central. Opened by Jowett who is a well known Chef in Australia. He has opened Mitchelin star restaurant Ms G’s and also Mr.Wong in Sydney.Specialize in Chinese dishes, Jowett brings these dishes to life with his modern concept of Chinese food. He makes the food more interesting and exquisite. All Chinese would know the name ‘Ho Lee Fook’ isn’t just a Chinese pronouciation but sounds like an English swear word, the name is fun, the food and restaurant is fun
TO START Mom’s “mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork” dumplings dipped in sacha soy dressing (HK$88).
ROAST MEAT Kurobuta pork char siu ($160)
NOT A SMALL PLATE Roast Wagyu short ribs glazed in soy, topped with garlicky green shallot kimchi with a fiery smear of jalapeno puree (HK$388)
Taiwanese style Lu Rou Fan, 5-grain rice, pickled daikon ($48)
DESSERT Granny smith apple granita, calpis sorbet, mochi, koji jelly HK$78
Mom’s “mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork” dumplings dipped in sacha soy dressing (HK$88)
A simple dish made perfectly! It is a must to order when you come Ho Lee Fook. There are only 6 dumplings on a plate, not enough to share for definately. The dumplings are perfectly made, the sizes are the same, with sacha (satay) soy sauce dressing and chilli. Damn tasty is what i call it. The dumpling’s filling consist only pork and cabbage like all dumplings, however their cabbage are chopped up into bigger pieces so you can taste the texture. The pork used here are pork neck, not the ordinary minced pork.
Kurobuta pork char siu ($160)
Roast BBQ meat is a must when you have Chinese food, and being my favorite roast meat, I must order a plate of it. Although it cost 4 times more than what I would usually pay, it was a good choice. The portion was generous and the char siu was in a pale red colour, at least we know they didn’t use too much red dye. There are slightly burnt parts to some pieces of the char siu, which is in my opinion are the best parts. Honestly, i will say this isn’t the best char siu I have had, especially with this price tag. However, the sauce is so damn good, if you dip the piece of meat back into the sauce on the plate, it taste like heaven! The meat was lean but not tough, hardly any fat on the meat.
NOT A SMALL PLATE
Roast Wagyu short ribs glazed in soy, topped with garlicky green shallot kimchi with a fiery smear of jalapeno puree (HK$388)
The portion was huge, so becareful when choosing from the ‘NOT A SMALL PLATE’ section, it was a humongous plate for two people especially if you have other food ordered. I liked how it looked immediately. The ribs were sliced evenly with a a big handful of kimchi on top. The beef was slightly overcooked so the meat was rather tough and some parts were chewy. Despite saying it is wagyu beef, there weren’t much beef taste to the meat. I am not a big spicy eater, but the jalapeno puree was super spicy even with a tiny dip, hot hot hot!
The green shallot kimchi was the real deal. If we think of kimchi I will just imagine Korean cabbage kimchi, green shallot kimchi is my first time. The texture was finer and lot chewier, and it made the ribs taste better if eaten with the kimchi. The kimchi wasn’t too spicy so I can really indulge in it without blowing my head off!
Taiwanese style Lu Rou Fan, 5-grain rice, pickled daikon ($48)
This was the biggest surprise of the night. I am a big Taiwanese Lu Rou Fan’s fan, I have tasted it everywhere and even try making it myself. But this has seriously blown my mind. Using not the white rice,but the 5 grain rice as the base. I love 5 grain rice, not only it is healthier but the texture is chewier and harder. The Lu Rou (mince meat sauce on top) was way better than anything I have tasted. it was rich and juicy. The meat was half lean and half fat, incredible texture with refreshing pickles on top to freshen up after such richness.
Granny smith apple granita, calpis sorbet, mochi, koji jelly HK$78
I am not a big fan of fruits in food. I like fruits on its own, but I do not like fruits cooked. So i do try to avoid fruity dessert unless tehy are real fruits. So it was a challenge for me to order this dessert. I do not regret ordering this though, I will definitely make the same choice again.
I love the Calpis sorbet, remember this is Calpis and not Yakult. The sorbet was delicious and refreshing but slightly on the sweet side as calpis is meant to be sweet. However eating it with the apple granita which is simply frozen ice evens out the sweetness. The calpis sorbet harmonize very well with the apple granita. There are also mochi and jelly which i thought was just to add texture to the dessert, I prefer to go without. I absolutely loved the dessert, as it was refreshing and not too sweet.
Fortune cookies (complimentary)
Just like Chinese restaurants in other countries, it isn’t the same without fortune cookies at the end is it? We were given a plate of fortune cookies , knowing that they do not taste so great, we dug in anyway. Biting it in half and discovering a positive message! Fantastic!
Located in Soho, being neighbour to the newly open Nom, it has definitely bought a young crowd to this quiet street. The dining area is located downstairs at the basement, which I had trouble getting down the stairs with my heels as it was real dark. There are many tables and enough distance between them. However, you can see tables are mainly for larger groups than 4 people which i thought was quite uninviting. I got there quite early on a Friday at 630pm without a reservation. They were rather uninviting and seem reluctant in giving me a table.
The interior was modern and hip, with an Asian twist to it. Red fan napkins reminds me of being in a Chinese restaurant in London’s Chinatown. I was seated opposite the bar, and I can hear the ‘frying wok’ sound from upstairs, which really took me back to Chinatown’s takeaway shops and restaurants.
From the outside, you can see the open kitchen through the window, really reminds me of those restaurants in Chinatown. I love the wall made up of mahjong, so Chinese! Right opposite is the famous Chinese dessert place, it has been there for more than twenty years! New and old Chinese shop!
Service was not consistent, people at the door was unfriendly and not helpful. Although we didn’t order any drinks, they did not give attitude like other places do. The service inside was attentive and even gave us recommendation, however lack of friendliness and smiles, maybe because in Chinatown there are no friendliness? I think they can improve on their service as they gave a feeling they were bit rude. If the chef Jowett made the food more welcoming and warm, i think the service should match the ‘theme’ too.
Please view their menu on their site:
$860 for two people
- Mom’s “mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork” dumplings dipped in sacha soy dressing (HK$88).
- Taiwanese style Lu Rou Fan, 5-grain rice, pickled daikon ($48)
- Granny smith apple granita, calpis sorbet, mochi, koji jelly HK$78
Would I go back again? YES but with more people this time so I can taste more!
Rating from my brains (out of 5 hearts): ♥♥♥♥
Rating from my Heart (out of 5 hearts): ♥♥♥♥
Overall Rating (out of 10 hearts): ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 8/10
ho lee fook
G/F No. 1-5 elgin st,
central, hong kong
+852 2810 0860
Tues – Sun
6pm to late
Reservation: Essential for dinner!