One to try: Lee Lo Mei presents creative, throwback Cantonese
05 Nov 2019
Location, location, location: while the real estate mantra holds, perhaps, a little less value in one of the densest cities in the world, the corner of Central’s Lyndhurst and Wellington is undeniably one of the city’s most conspicuous F&B sites.
Following a summer revamp, Lee Lo Mei has re-opened on the corner it has occupied for the last three years, and the two-tiered restaurant and bar is already doing a bustling trade on street level for the after-work drinks crowd – our weeknight visit saw punters spilling out onto Lyndhurst Terrace. But is it worthy of the corner office?
What’s the story: The latest offering by ZS Hospitality (the same group behind the two-Michelin-starred Ying Jee Club and casual Vietnamese go-to Moi Moi), Lee Lo Mei is the flagship in the group’s “Lee” family of restaurants – next door on Lyndhurst is Lee Ho Sing, which serves up refined (and wallet-friendly) takes on classic Hong Kong street food, while coming this December is Miss Lee, a new concept taking up another prime location on the corner of Wellington and QRC.
The upstairs dining room features nostalgic accents throughout.
The vibe: While the old Lee Lo Mei was dai pai dong-themed, the new iteration looks to Hong Kong cinema – and the city’s swinging 1960s – for its inspiration. The colourful interior, which includes floor-to-ceiling paintings, stained glass accents and a pallet of yellow and green anchored by dark wood furnishings.
On the menu: Plates big and small are designed to share, with quirky dish names that are a cute touch but can get a little disorienting.
The Ping Pong Buns (HK$118 for two pieces) – small pineapple buns filled with a juicy and generously sized char siu patty and a chunky pineapple chutney – and the Pork N Roll (HK$108) – fresh cheung fun topped with pulled pork, fried egg and XO sauce – are a solid way to kick off the evening.
The Ping Pong Buns are served with crinkle-cut fries.
It's fair to say we were fighting over the last piece of Shrimply the Best (HK$148), in which tiger prawns are coated in a salted egg yolk glaze speckled with black truffle and then wok-fried, and served on a silky cauliflower purée. The plump prawns are cooked perfectly, and the kitchen isn’t heavy handed on the black truffle, allowing the natural sweetness of the prawn to cut through the saltiness of the coating.
For mains, Gulu Pork (HK$188) is an elevated take on the much-maligned sweet and sour pork. It's a big serving, with the glaze on the sweet side but offset by the nutty flavours of the lightly coated and wok-fried black Iberico pork. Pair it with the Flavourful Fried Rice (HK$248), another sizeable portion loaded with tender diced wagyu, kimchi and the clever addition of foie gras.
Portions at Lee Lo Mei are designed for sharing.
Elsewhere, Lee’s Little Lobster (HK$208) sees a nicely cooked, if small, lobster tail roasted and served on top of a black pepper sauce, accompanied by crispy mantou and a very Insta-friendly condensed milk foam. The dish is well prepared – particularly enjoyable are the nuanced hum of the pepper sauce and the golden crunch of the mantou that retains a perfectly pillowy texture in the middle.
To end, Ginger Bombs (HK$98 for three pieces) should be consumed with caution – each transparent, gelatin parcel contains a warming ginger soup, peanuts and candied melon, and the ball explodes with little resistance. Dangerous? Potentially. Delicious? Most definitely.
Miss Lee makes her exit.
What else: Start your night, or end it, with a cocktail: the ground-floor bar slings a solid range of signatures (all HK$128), the ideal plus one for a spot of people-watching from the open-fronted façade.
PR speak: “Lee Lo Mei epitomises the retro dining trend through vibrant old-school-style interiors, and nostalgic foods that tell the stories of Hong Kong’s past by recreating the city’s favourite flavours.”
WOM Guide was a guest of ZS Hospitality.
Lee Lo Mei, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, +852 2896 7688; leelomei.hk