Author/Photo credit : Jocelyn Chen
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I remember visiting Bo Shanghai when it just opened. The food was delicious but overall the restaurant still seemed a small step from producing a sophisticated menu. Earlier this year, I set foot in Bo Shanghai again. This time, the menu was inspired by Italian cuisine with elements from the eight major culinary traditions in China.
In my opinion, Bo Shanghai has made great strides both in the maturity and stability of the food it presents.
Both chefs of Bo Shanghai, DeAille Dee and Simon Wong, were born in Hong Kong and grew up in Canada. They graduated from George Brown College and worked at Shangri-La Hotel in Canada. During a chef cooking tour, they met Alvin Leung, one of the invited guests at the gourmet tour.
As a former engineer, DeAille is the first female Michelin-starred chef in China. Nurtured by her science background, DeAille is rigorous, creative and persistent, and these qualities have also become the culinary philosophy of Bo Shanghai. Simon, on the other hand, was a medical student who has always enjoyed cooking for his family. Eventually, he decided to quit medical school and to learn cooking from scratch. After spending time and experiencing cultures around the world, DeAille and Simon returned to Hong Kong to work at Bo Innovation and later became the chefs at Bo Shanghai.
Chef of Bo Shanghai, DeAille Dee
Visiting Bo Shanghai for the second time, I can say the dishes have now been adjusted to better suit the local palate. Chefs have worked hard to gradually approach what they aspire to deliver. Many of their innovative recipes are just mind-blowing, making Bo Shanghai’s creative menu one of the best in Shanghai.
For the past two years, chefs at Bo Shanghai have gradually mastered Chinese culinary traditions. Surprise is everywhere as I witness the transformation of Bo Shanghai. However, as a restaurant that draws its inspiration from the eight Chinese culinary traditions, it inevitably gets scrutinized. Will the chefs enjoy more freedom to explore if they no longer need to follow the rules of traditional cuisine?
While I enjoyed most of the dishes that night, I have to say that in terms of wine pairing, there is still room for improvement. It would definitely be more satisfying if there were more options available. I also worried that the food would quickly cool down as the server spent much time explaining the dishes due to the complexity of the ingredients and cooking techniques. Nevertheless, their service was indeed very professional.
There are few outstandting dishes I’d like to mention here:
Fujian- Vitello Tonnato, Glutinous red wine, toro. Sorbet made from Fijian’s red yeast rice, beef sauce, seared tuna & seaweed. It was actually a playful version that reverses vitello tonnato, the famous Piedmonte dish—sliced veal covered with creamy tuna flavored sauce. The fatty tuna was tender, and searing gave it more flavor.
Shandong – Pollo Dal Shandong. Dezhou Essence, Fermented Fennel, Porcini. Marinate chicken thighs of cage-free chicken, and slowly simmer at low temperature. Pour hot oil over chicken to crisp the skin. Season with Chinese spices and Mascarpone, and add some fennel flavored sour cabbage to the side. The chicken roll was tender and juicy, and the skin was crispy. The fresh porcini mushrooms had smooth, creamy texture. This was indeed an exceptional dish.
Dessert, Zhejiang – Affogato. Loquat, “Bird Nest”, White Peony, Osmanthus. The dessert was inspired by affogato (vanilla ice cream with espresso) — a scoop of Tangxi loquat ice cream topped with white peony tea, Gum Tragacanth, snow lotus, sweet osmanthus. This dessert is not too sweet and full of flavors.
Both young, talented and hard-working, DeAille and Simon have brought something unique to the restaurant. While Bo Shanghai and Bo Innovation are known for their creativity, their menus are designed independently with distinct features.
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