Monday, May 13, 2013

Hats Off with Bo Innovation's Chef Alvin Leung @ The Westin KL

Before we moved back to Malaysia, we loved going for Michelin fine dining around the UK and Europe whenever we can. Last month, I wrote about the Hats Off event that was happening at The Westin KL, whereby 3 international Michelin-star chefs was coming to cook up a storm in KL. I was delighted when an invite came for me to experience a night of fine dining with 2-Michelin star chef Alvin Leung at Five Sen5es

Hats Off with Chef Alvin Leung

Chef Alvin Leung, also known as the Demon Chef or Maverick Chef is the owner cum chef of Bo Innovation, the only independent restaurant to be awarded 2 Michelin stars in Hong Kong. Known for his X-treme Chinese cuisine, he combines century old recipes with modern cooking techniques.

My handsome date for the evening :)

For the evening, Chef Alvin Leung has designed a 7-course menu. His food is innovative and exciting to the palate, and after the meal, we came to the conclusion that this was definitely the best fine dining Chinese meal we've had. Five Sen5es, the Chinese restaurant in The Westin KL operates an open kitchen concept, so diners can just walk up to the kitchen and watch Chef Alvin Leung, his team and the team from Westin KL work together to put the dishes together - definitely an added bonus for an avid foodie.

Bollinger, NV

To start, we were served tomato three-ways; tomato braised in "pat chun" Chinese vinegar, cherry tomato baked in Chinese filo served with fermented Chinese olives "lam kok" and tomato marshmallow with green oil. A play on different textures, we love this appetizing starter - the tomatoes were so sweet and juicy. Oh by the way, we were intrigued and asked Chef Alvin Leung what the sweet-savoury brown stuff was at the bottom, and were told that it was made using shitake mushrooms and a cookie recipe. Very interesting! Served with a glass of Bollinger.

Simply called "Tomato" on the menu

It just gets better, next up is one of my favorite ingredients to eat - foie gras. The foie gras is pan seared and served with mui choy", a type of Chinese preserved mustard leaves in the form of a creamy ice cream and also in crispy dehydrated form. The salty mui choy worked well with the rich decadent foie gras. Was happy that the foie gras was quite a sizeable portion. Served with a glass of white Pascal Jolivet Altitude Sauvignon Blanc 2012, France.

Foie Gras

The homemade pasta was nicely cooked and well coated with umami oil, "har mi" (dried shrimp powder) and kaniko (a type of fish roe). I like the nice crunchy texture that the kaniko adds to the dish.

Har Mi

Chef Alvin Leung at Five Sen5es, KL

Without a doubt the scallop was my favorite dish of the evening. The large plump juicy scallop was lightly seared and served with a Shanghainese "Jolo" sauce, crispy Woba and peas foam. Chef Alvin Leung explains that jolo is a type of pickling brine (made from Chinese wine and soy sauce) and crispy Woba is baked crispy rice crackers. For me, this was also the prettiest dish of the evening. Served with Torres Gran Vina Sol 2009, Chardonnay, Spain.


Topped with a pea shoot, so pretty!

Back to the kitchen to catch some more action, here Chef Alvin Leung is plating up the next course (cod)

The cod was nice and flaky, and was topped with a yellow miso sauce, Sauternes jelly and Chinese seaweed as well as some corn kernels and asparagus for texture.


We were curious about the 7 years aged Acquerello rice, often regarded as the best risotto rice in the world.  Acquerello represents the superior form of white rice belonging to the Japonica subspecies and is produced and packed by the Rondolino’s family on theColombara farm, in the heart of Vercelli province. It combines the essential nutritional values of brown rice with the cooking characteristics of superior white rice, absorbing cooking liquids very well without being sticky.

Cooked in a yellow chicken stock, the rice was indeed very good and almost stole the limelight from the organic chicken. Served with some wood fungus and sand ginger chicken jus and De Bortoli  Gulf Station Pinot Noir 2010, Australia. 

Organic chicken

M.Chapoutier Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2009, France

Dessert was another highlight of our meal, inspired by Malaysia's own nasi lemak. Lasak Lemak is Chef Alvin Leung's innovative dessert creation which brings together the 5 main components of nasi lemak - pandan, coconut, peanut, anchovies and chilli. The coconut ice cream is wrapped with a fine pandan jelly and topped with a peanut biscuit. The red specks are chilli chocolate with a potent spicy kick, whereas the square cube are anchovy candies. Eaten together, I felt this dessert was fantastic and definitely the most innovative dish of the evening. Served with a sweet M.Chapoutier Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2009, France. 

Lasak Lemak

Coconut biscuits and mochi

After our meal ended, we managed to speak to Chef Alvin Leung about his exciting cuisine. When creating a dish, the most important aspect for him is balance. He tells us that everything on the plate must complement each other and is there for texture or taste and rarely for colour. He also tells us that he will be opening up more restaurants in Shanghai and Taiwan soon. Of course, before he goes, I quickly ask for a photograph and a signed menu ;)

Baby Sumo and Chef Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation :)

I got a signed menu too! :)

Verdict: This was a great meal, we enjoyed Chef Alvin Leung's innovative "X-treme Chinese" cuisine. 

Service: Good.

Price: "Hats Off" is priced at RM348++ per person (inclusive of wines) and at RM298++ per person (excluding alcoholic beverages), with specially designed set menus.

Location:Five Sen5es, Level 1, The Westin Kuala Lumpur, 199 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03- 2731 8333

GPS Coordinates: 3.14779, 101.714569

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  1. Oh how exciting! I've been dying to try his food but alas the restaurant hours have never coincided with my visits to HK. Love your dress btw! :)

  2. wow! looks truly fab.. and you lucky girl, u got an autograph too. well done! I see your favourites on the menu.. scallops!

  3. Wow Yen! I conclude that most Alvin can cook! Hahaha..

    This is the guy who famously came out with the dish "Sex on the beach" which was plated like a discarded condom with semen on a beach of sand? (Sorry but this was what I read a while ago...)

    Ok.. back to the dinner... I like the ingredients used and his cooking and plating style... Top notch! But I think the wine pairing was slightly off... especially for the foie gras and chicken dishes...

  4. that lemak dessert really looks delectable! if only the westin would put it on the permanent menu here, that would be a real treat for those of us who didn't manage to sample the hats off dinners, heh! :D

  5. The food served up by Chef Alvin Leung definitely looks great and I'm really curious about the taste. It's a good thing he didn't go with his more "exotic" creations for this one! :)

  6. The tomato looks like one of those Indian sweets...

  7. What an interesting spread. Of course the scallop is making my mouth water.

  8. Oh, Yen, I love the food here. You are such a big fan of scallop, hahaha! I like the foie gras & pasta.

  9. Foie gras with mui choy! Wow interesting combination!

  10. awww you are so lucky!!! food shouldnt be so pretty!! i'd hardly want to destroy such masterpiece!

  11. Halo Chef Alvin. *wave*
    I rmbr watching him on AFC ;-)

  12. Beautiful and creative food, the Lasak Lemak looks fabulous! Hope you enjoyed your travels to Europe:) Shu x

  13. Wow, what a truly unforgettable dining experience. Everything looks delicious!

  14. Seems like you had an awesome dining experience here, with the chef's autograph!!! Always fun to see the action in the kitchen, and everything looks delicious here.


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