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CELEBRITY Hong Kong chef Alvin Leung had his eyes on Shanghai’s iconic Bund for a while.
Now, after years of planning and preparation, his casual dining venue overlooking the incredible Pudong skyline is finally open to the public. Unlike the upscale restaurants lining the riverfront, Leung wanted his guests at Daimon
The self-proclaimed “demon chef” has no formal kitchen training and is one of the rare self-taught chefs to receive 3 Michelin stars. His 3-starred Hong Kong restaurant Bo Innovation is famous for its “X-Treme Chinese” cuisine, which modernizes centuries-old traditional dishes and recipes with modern techniques and flavors.
At Daimon Bistro, the interior design is inspired by Kowloon’s “walled city,” with graffiti and neon lights referencing the notorious enclave that once was controlled by the triads. While the decor might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the menu is a celebration of creative food that emphasizes flavorful cooking.
With its original Hong-Kong causal concept, Leung gives the menu an international twist with Southeast Asian flavors and some Western touches.
Diners can choose from a selection of dim sum and small plates, as well as mains for sharing. The dim sum page is impressive with some unexpected fillings added to traditional Chinese dim sum. Three kinds of Little Dragon Baos (xiaolongbao) offer creative, cross-cultural fillings of spicy Sichuan lamb, Thai-inspired chicken tom yum and chili crab. I picked the chili crab (38 yuan/3pcs) and it didn’t disappoint. This creative reinterpretation of Singapore’s most popular dish was rich with a balanced sweet and spicy flavor.
I also tried the Mui Choy, foie gras potsticker (58 yuan/3pcs). It too was perfectly executed in terms of flavor and texture.
The king fish ceviche from the small plate menu was a creative reinterpretation of the famous Peruvian staple. Leung added crispy rice crackers that I’ve never seen in a ceviche dish. They gave a nice contrasting texture to the soft kingfish chunks. The taste was generally heavier though than original ceviche recipes.
Whole roasted cherry duck (168 yuan) is probably one of the most popular main dishes here. It featured a perfectly roasted crisped skin, a thin layer of fat and super tender meat. Traditional Beijing duck pancakes were served to wrap the meat with cucumber and leeks, while Cantonese hoisin sauce gave the dish a fresh twist.
Every dish was large enough to share between two or three people.
Leung’s popularity has also made him a sought-after guest at food events and conferences around the world. He has also become a TV personality, having been a judge on MasterChef Canada and the host of Maverick Chef and Wok Stars.