Lee Ho Fook is the new kid to open on Smith Street this year. A simple refurb of a tight 45-seat restaurant, the bar taking up a significant slice of the floor action. The front window is deceptive with a panda etched on to the smoked-glass front window, and a swirly two-tone charcoal and white paint job that suggests the restaurant is under development.
The menus reflects a modern Chinese restaurant with charcoal walls and a softly and subtle yin yang paint job. A solitary golden cat waves the air in this funky restaurant, the waitresses wander around the tables always attentive and the restaurants hums with an air of excitement all on its own.
This is the first head chef gig for Victor Liong, and the pressure is on. The dishes hitting tables tell the full story of Liong’s love of Chinese flavours, his rigorous training in classical French technique and science unite.
Dishes are small and so a wide variety is recommended by the staff. We started with entrees of raw kingfish with leeks radish and mushroom bathed in burnt garlic and ginger white soy cream and a plate of crispy eggplant with spiced red vinegar and a dish of spiced wagyu tartare on puffed rice soon followed. Warm scallops and silken tofu with soy butter and a huge twice braised cooked pork belly then landed on our table. Be warned the pork belly could easily feed four people
A fantastic feast of flavour and textures, a definite must for next time in the Collingwood area. Again reasonably priced as I am finding for Melbourne restaurants that deliver a fantastic experience – 8/10.