I love how this little corner of the internet allows me to meet some really interesting people, the latest being Alice Agnelli, the creator of Italian food blog A Gipsy In the Kitchen. Sadly her blog is written in Italian but a peek at the photos shows it’s worth switching Google Translate on. We caught up for dinner at Lee Ho Fook which has just moved into new digs just off Flinders Lane in the CBD. I love, love, LOVED Le Ho Fook in its Smith Street incarnation so was keen to see how the restaurant translated into the much bigger central location.
Lee Ho Fook is now housed in a big converted warehouse space over two levels. It lacks some of the intimacy and atmosphere of the original restaurant but I liked how the exposed brick walls have been retained to keep a sense of the history of the space.
We tackled the menu a little differently than usual as Alice and her partner are pescatarian so meat was off the cards. To start, super fresh Pacific oysters ($4 each) and Lee Ho Fook’s signature tea smoked eggs ($5 each) which are rich and sticky.
We couldn’t resist trying the whacky sounding Chinese/Italian pizza called a “Chinizza” ($18). Topped with finely chopped spring onions and soft cheese it had lots of zing and crunch but I couldn’t help but wish for an actual pizza.
A must order dish, whether you are eating meat or not is Lee Ho Fook’s crispy eggplant ($20). Long pieces of egg plant are deep fried so they are mushy inside and crunchy on the outside and drizzled with red vinegar to add bite. Warning – these are addictive!
King prawns ($36) are rich and luxurious thanks to being stir fried with lashings of Cantonese garlic butter and topped with prawn floss and the stir fried white cabbage and crispy brussel sprouts offer a lovely textural contrast along with some heat from a scattering of sichuan pepper ($21).
Where Lee Ho Fook falls down is with dessert. The sweet corn ice-cream ($7) served with salted coconut mousse sounded intriguing but was really quite wrong with the ice-cream failing to nail that tricky sweet savoury combination. The chocolate brownie with lotus seed icecream and cured egg yolk ($7) was a decent brownie but the accompaniments did nothing for it. Sadly I don’t love the new Lee Ho Fook as much as I did the original.
Details: Lee Ho Fook, 11-15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne (Ph +61 3 9077 6261)