The ground floor address at 8 Lyndhurst Terrace in Central has always been a favourite after-work drinking destination, with its prime intersection for people watching and comfortable open-air facade. LEE Lo Mei popped up in late 2016 to carry on this tradition, a funky and audacious kitchen denoted by a popular (albeit somewhat indelicate) slang term in Cantonese, which translates, more politely, to ‘Lee’s delicious kitchen’ in English.
The name pays homage to the two head chefs: ZS Hospitality Group’s Director of Culinary and Operations, Joe Lee, and Senior Executive Chef of LEE Lo Mei, Max Lee. Both veterans of Hong Kong’s hospitality industry, Joe and Max previously worked together at the once Michelin-star Gold By Harlan Goldstein and European fine dining restaurant, Penthouse. When LEE Lo Mei opened, Joe recruited Max again to help him create the list of Hong Kong-style dishes with a modern spin.
Juxtaposed with the wet markets and dai pai dongs (Hong Kong’s outdoor food stalls) that dot the area, LEE Lo Mei – split into the ground floor bar and first-floor restaurant – offers a welcome alternative for those seeking local street eats in more stylish surrounds.
LEE Lo Mei’s interiors are a mix of urban cool and a walk down memory lane – splashes of graffiti art depict scenes of old Hong Kong, colourful chairs mirror the mahjong tiles painted on the walls and a shiny-topped bar beckons guests to start their night with a potent cocktail.
Your first order of business is choosing from the list of innovative Asian-inspired libations on offer. Ease in with the fruity and strong General Mo (a combination of calvados, pineau des charentes, blood orange, lemon juice and vanilla syrup) or the Tai Chi, a spiked version of Hong Kong-style yuan yang with rum, Kahl.a and a hint of cinnamon. Alternatively, go full throttle with the Give You a Ride. Perfect for sharing among friends, this Chinese-style punch is fortified with Chu Yeh Ching wine, rum, pu-erh tea and cane juice.
The smooth sippers are dangerously easy to consume – luckily, the menu offers enough hearty richness to neutralise abundant alcohol consumption. Try the crispy wontons for starters, their golden-fried crust giving way to a savoury filling of Ib.rico pork and prawns, followed by the juicy tiger shrimps, battered in a luscious salted egg yolk coating, and tossed with truffle ‘snow’.
Other menu items pay respect to classic cha chaan teng dishes with a few cheeky upgrades, from the chorizo-topped turnip cakes with XO sauce to the Hong Kong-style ho fun – flat rice noodles cranked up a notch with premium A4 Wagyu beef.
If you’re still hungry, the sweet and sour chicken, crab meat fried rice and roasted lobster tail doused in black pepper sauce should have you sorted.
When you’re ready for a nightcap, look to the long list of top-shelf whiskies, fortified wines and digestifs for a settling sip before bedtime. With a full belly and a shot of cognac to send you on your way, you’ll be sporting a happy buzz all the way home.