Presenting traditional Chinese cuisine with authentic Hong Kong hospitalityThe highly anticipated Lai Bun Fu that presents an exquisite menu of fine traditional Chinese cuisine with a modern twist has opened at Level 5, 18 On Lan Street in Central. In Cantonese, Lai Bun means “hospitality”, while “Fu” refers to “sifu” or master chef. Helmed by former Government House Executive Chef Chung Kin Leung, Lai Bun Fu aims to present diners with exquisite dishes served with conviviality. During the soft opening period until 25 January, guests at Lai Bun Fu who provide feedback will be offered the restaurant’s unique Deep Fried Prawn Mousse Stuffed with Shunde Milk Chips.
At Lai Bun Fu, the authentic cuisine is prepared by a team of highly experienced chefs helmed by Chef Chung, who personally visits the markets every day to source fresh and quality ingredients. A wide range of ingredients also come from around the world, such as Wagyu beef and scallops from Japan, Iberico pork from Spain, as well as dried shrimps from Tai O, a Hong Kong fishing town, located on the west side of Lantau Island.
The highly anticipated menu presents a number of Chef Chung’s signature dishes from his Government House days as Executive Chef there, as well as VIP favourites. These include Sifu’s Crispy Chicken with 5 flavour condiments, and Foie Gras Prawn Cutlets on Toast, featuring whole fresh prawn on bread topped with smooth and creamy foie gras. Showcasing Hong Kong’s exquisite dried seafood, Lai Bun Fu Extra Special Hot Pot combines fish maw, abalone, sea cucumber, and goose webs, which are carefully simmered in a claypot, resulting in a flavourful experience.
Traditional Cantonese double-boiled soups feature prominently on the menu, with such health-conscious concoctions as Vegetarian Shark’s Fin with Abalone Soup, Fish Maw with Chinese Cabbage and Shiitake Mushroom Soup, and Bird’s Nest with Minced Chicken Soup, a recipe that was specially developed by Selina Tsang Pou Siu Mei, wife of former Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam Kuen.
The extensive menu combines Chef Chung’s secret recipes and premium ingredients, such as Crispy Chicken Wing stuffed with Bird Nest, Baked Crab Meat and Bird's Nest in Shell, Fresh Crab Claw Stir-fried with Egg White and Milk in Traditional Style, Traditional-style Steamed Chicken (must be pre-ordered one week in advance), Poached Thick Cut Conch with Oyster Sauce and Shrimp Paste Dip, and Typhoon Shelter Crab with Garlic and Chili.
For greener and healthier choices, Lai Bun Fu’s menu also features tantalizing vegetarian specialties, including Poached Seasonal Vegetables with Silk Beancurd, Steamed Bamboo Fungus, Elm Fungus and Asparagus Roll, Braised Winter Melon Stuffed with Assorted Mushrooms, and the restaurant’s signature Stir-fried Five-Coloured Vegetables.
Rice is an important aspect of any Chinese meal therefore Chef Chung has sourced the finest grains from Heilongjiang Province in China, where it grows in the rich, fertile black soil that was previously molten lava rock. The rice harvested here is highly prized, having been served to the Imperial family in ancient times and now discerning diners in Hong Kong can sample this rare rice exclusively at Lai Bun Fu.
To complement the meal, Lai Bun Fu presents two exclusive wines from Podernuovo Estate, a vineyard in Siena, Tuscany, owned by the Bulgari family. Previously neglected for many years, the estate was purchased in 2004 by Paolo and Giovanni Bulgari, who made it their mission to bring the vineyard back to life. The result is two wines exclusive to Lai Bun Fu, the Sotirio 2010, an elegant ruby red wine made of 100% Sangiovese grapes, and was given 90 points by Wine Advocate, and 93 points by renowned wine critic James Suckling. Meanwhile, the Therra 2009 is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Montepulciano, which has a rich, round flavour with red fruit and balsamic notes.
Coupled with a carefully selected international wine collection, premium Chinese tea, and innovative cocktails representing Hong Kong, is the cutting-edge interior design to create a novel culinary journey. Harking back to Chef Chung’s 10 years at the Hong Kong Government House, Lai Bun Fu recreates the timeless sophistication and elegance of European architecture.
Endowed with an East-meets-West ambience, the nostalgic aura with a modern twist exemplifies the past, present and future of Hong Kong. The flooring features classic beige and white checkered marble, while the forest green wall panels are adorned with elaborately decorated ceramic plates with architectural themes and colonial buildings that previously stood in the city, such as the Royal Building, Hong Kong Bank, Harbour Office and King Edward Hotel.
To contrast with the classic décor are some whimsical pieces in Lai Bun Fu. The theme of the top hat and coat rack along the windows, as well as the collection of antique walking sticks pay homage to Hong Kong’s unique colonial British history, while on dining tables there are tasteful trinkets, such as ancient-style compasses modeled on antiques. A striking chandelier made of crystal cut glass ice buckets and ice cubes symbolising Lai Bun Fu’s commitment to social responsibilities, inspired by the ice bucket challenge last year.
The dining ambience is further enhanced with favourite songs and music of yesteryear, signaled by the vintage record player to remind guests of the good old days. There is even a Chinese gong at the entrance of the restaurant to recreate the tradition at Hong Kong Government House, where dinner was announced with the striking of the gong.
Lai Bun Fu is housed in an interior of over 2,000 sq ft of dining space that seats 52 guests and a private room for up to 12 guests. The VIP room, “Lai Bun Room”, is surrounded by glass and brass frame, inspired by an elegant house in a beautiful English garden. Designed by Hands Hospitality Limited, the interior and meticulous detailing of Lai Bun Fu recreates the old British colonial Hong Kong yet with a new innovative zest of modernity.