A seemingly perennial fixture at the entrance to Lower Elgin Street in Central, Ho Lee Fook is reporting some major changes this summer with news of chef Jowett Yu's upcoming departure in July. The restaurant will then close down for a complete renovation this summer, unveiling a new look later in the year at the hands of interior designer Sean Dix, while a new, as-yet-unannounced chef will take over the helm of the kitchen.
Opened in 2014, Ho Lee Fook has seen the fortunes of Soho, as well as those of its parent group Black Sheep Restaurants, change drastically. As one of the city's first Chinese restaurants to offer a contemporary take on Cantonese cuisine, Ho Lee Fook quickly became known for its shimmering wall of waving gold-plated cats, amicable service that has since become a defining feature of Black Sheep outlets, and its tongue-in-cheek wordplay.
Taiwanese-born chef Jowett Yu, who ran "funky" Asian eateries Ms. G's and Mr. Wong in Sydney, combined his French training with his Asian heritage to create signature dishes in the same vein as Momofuku's David Chang, such as grilled pork belly with Taiwanese caper salsa, an okonomiyaki and prawn toast crossover, and roast Wagyu short ribs with a soy glaze. Combined with its no-reservations policy, Ho Lee Fook established itself as one of the most in-demand restaurants across town, with a 90-minute wait for a table to be expected on any given night.