For those of you who are adventurous with your eating, I’m sure you’ve already been to Michelin-starred restaurant Bo Innovation and tried their infamous “X-treme Chinese” cuisine. But if you’re new to the world of gastronomy or want to see how much you’re willing to tease your palate, then check out Alvin Leung’s (aka the “Demon Chef”) latest restaurant, MC Kitchen!
MC Kitchen is located in Kwun Tong – a short 15-minute ride on the MTR from Causeway Bay. For an area that’s mostly known for its industrial and commercial use, MC Kitchen is a welcome and refreshing fine dining addition to the area.
We met with Macy Lai, Head Chef at MC Kitchen, who was incredibly nice and the perfect hostess throughout our meal. She explained to us that while MC Kitchen retains the modern yet fusion influences of Bo’s cuisine, it’s more focused on comfort food rather than extreme eating. So whilst Bo’s long degustation menus and emphasis on molecular gastronomy may have been dispensed with, don’t worry – as you see from our pictures, the Alvin Leung flair is still ever present!
Our first starter was the hamachi – eating this was almost like a mystery box unfolding in your mouth! Even though the star was supposed to be the hamachi, I was more intrigued with breaking down the layers of food in our glass. Wasabi combined with apple ice and diced cucumber made for an exciting mix of frosty coolness and wasabi heat, which collectively sent shivers down my spine!
The second starter was a play on the popular appetiser at Chinese restaurants, san choi bao (lettuce wraps), but instead of the regular spicy pork mince, the filling was a piece of foie gras. The richness of the foie gras was well balanced by the light lettuce, crispy noodles and a divine black rice vinegar, miso and saffron sauce. Rach doesn’t even normally like foie gras but we both quickly polished this one off!
The most adventurous part of our meal was the mashed potato with Chinese salty fish. The mash was smooth and creamy, but the salty fish is definitely not for everyone; this is probably destined to be one of those “love it or hate it” dishes and whilst Rach scooped up several helpings, even someone like me who has salty fish on a regular basis didn’t exactly find the taste quite so pleasant.
Onto my favourite part of the meal – the Carabinero red prawn. This pasta is just a bright shining star of chilli “har mi” oil goodness. The Spanish prawn was sweet, juicy and tender; instead of sucking on the shrimp’s head the traditional Chinese way (I know, most of you are probably going ewwww!), Macy told us to dunk those juices right into the pasta. All that brainy-goodness combined with perfectly al dente homemade pasta tossed in crab egg resulted in an incredibly rich and delicious sauce. If you plan to order only one thing on the menu, this is it!
The DC classic chicken risotto was the dish that most reflected the idea of comfort food to me. The risotto absorbed the simple yet satisfying chicken flavour, resulting in what Rach and I both described as a thick chicken congee! Just the dish if you want to be warmed from your tummy up on a cold, cold day.
Our final dish was the Iberico pork, MC Kitchen’s play on the Hong Kong favourite of sweet and sour pork. Cooking the pork sous-vide takes out all of the fat from the meat, but unfortunately left it a tad too tough for us. The batter that would normally coat the pork was instead presented as crunchy nuggets in a tangy plum sauce salad – a clever idea, but one that just left us craving real sweet and sour pork. The dehydrated pineapple was definitely the highlight for me – a paper-thin source of sweetness and tartness to end our meal.
For dessert, we tried the “Coconut” – a playful trio of coconut juice jelly, coconut milk siu long bao and coconut-sugar ice cream. The jelly was fresh and cool, whilst the coconut milk siu long bao was a wonderful contrasting burst of creaminess that popped in your mouth! Together with a tart slick of rhubarb sauce, crunchy chocolate crumbs and creamy rich ice cream, this was a delicious play on textures and tastes.
If you manage to come during lunchtime, check out MC Kitchen’s set menus that run from Monday to Saturday and range from $200-450; otherwise, the a la carte will set you back around $150 for appetisers, $200-350 for mains and $70 for desserts (with the eight-course chef menu costing $880) – not cheap but definitely more affordable than Bo for dishes that are of comparable quality.
So if you’re looking to go on a foodie adventure, why not give MC Kitchen a try? And if you love watching how everything is made, I’d recommend asking for a spot by the open kitchen so you can see Chef Macy work her culinary magic! Just make sure you order the Carabinero red prawn – it will change your life!
MC Kitchen G/F, AXA Tower, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong
3758 2239 www.facebook.com/mckitchenhk