Learning that a plate of rice rolls (cheung fan/腸粉) at Lee Lo Mei would cost HK$138 initially made me roll my eyes at a potentially overpriced gimmicky spot. I was skeptical as to whether foie gras and truffle would actually be a meaningful upgrade to the traditional cheung fan, which is already delicious with simple char siu or minced beef. I mentioned these feelings while having brunch at Mamasita’s Cantina five floors up (same restaurant group) one day, and a friend insisted that the food was genuinely really good, while acknowledging the slightly high prices. So I finally checked it out for myself, and could not agree more with the summary that it’s pricey but it’s good.
Charmingly Colourful Dai Pai Dong Decor
Lee Lo Mei’s use of the Hong Kong dai pai dong theme is hipster-ish borderline cliche, though perfectly in line with their menu offering. They used better quality foldable tables and stools to recreate that local street vibe, but the consequence of uncomfortable seating is admittedly a questionable compromise for cute decor. That said, half of the tables had better chairs – the cushiony ones with back support you find at Chinese restaurants – so I guess you could request that when you make a reservation.
Despite sitting on a stool, I loved the vibe overall and could not stop taking photos of their decor, especially their vibrantly coloured walls.
HK fries – HK$68
Truffle fries was the perfect starter to order since we were waiting for our last guest to arrive. It was just a bad idea personally because they were made with super crispy edges and came with a side of truffle mayo, so I unrestrainedly finished about 2/3 of the bag myself. These were delicious and would easily bump off any of the truffle fries I featured a while back here: Satisfy your truffle cravings at these 3 restaurants. Though if there are less than four of you, I’d suggest saving your stomach for more ‘special’ or creative dishes which follow.
Taro dumplings – HK$88
We also started with the taro dumplings which was filled with duck confit and foie gras, then sided with taro ‘four ways’. Actually I was a bit confused by the dish. It was delicious, but it was less memorable than I expected of the description, and I definitely preferred some of the other things we ordered.
Charcoal Squid – HK$98
The charcoal squid was executed really well; each bite of squid came with a good charred aroma and juicy texture. This was served on a bed of charcoal eggplant which had crispy edges and was an interesting combination that almost seemed typical because it went so well together.
Baby Cabbage – HK$88
We ordered this just because we needed some veg on the table, but it was much more substantial than its name would suggest. The baby cabbage was wrapped inside beancurd skin and then pan fried and served in this sauce, and topped with Iberico cured pork. I would order this again, even if I wasn’t in need of a fibrous dish.
Steamed Cheung Fan – HK$138 *must order*
This cheung fan was the reason I felt skeptical about Lee Lo Mei to begin with, but it turned out to be one of my favourite dishes! The rice roll skin was very smooth, steamed just right and the thickness was just enough to hold together all the luxurious contents: confit chicken, foie gras and black truffle. The rolls were then lathered with a mushroom broth, instead of the usual soy sauce.
It was definitely a welcomed twist and upgrade on the traditional dim sum and the filling was not only very filling but also worked well together. Of course it’s a little crazy to pay HK$138 for cheung fan, but this wasn’t cheung fan at all, just a dish which looks like it.
HK Style Ho Fun Noodles with Wagyu Beef – HK$258 *must order*
Fried ho fun noodles with beef was my staple meal at the local Cha Chan Teng on days I was lucky enough to be picked up from school by mom. But the upgraded rendition at Lee Lo Mei is anything but staple. The fried ho fun noodles are topped with a layer of thin wagyu beef, cooked to medium rare, and with such tender texture, it’s no wonder 9/10 of the Instagram captions will mention “melt in your mouth”.
Claypot rice with salted egg yolk – HK$228 *must order*
Our meal ended strong with three really good dishes, including this claypot rice. We chose the one which featured salted egg yolk and pork head meat sausage. The pork head meat sausage was so unexpectedly soft, tender and juicy. It was flavoured perfectly but not overly salty. The proportion of meat to salted egg yolk to rice and burnt rice bits was also spot on.
A little cliche, but it works and is worth it
The concept of using great quality ingredients in otherwise-cheap Hong Kong dishes triggered the skeptic inside me at first. But I can get over the cliches of the dai pai dong decor and slightly uncomfortable seating because the food was genuinely delicious and made extremely well. Lee Lo Mei goes way further than ‘ingredients’ – they’re not just substituting beef with wagyu beef, but incorporating much creativity into a number of items on their menu.
Our meal ended up to cost about HK$500 each, which is on the pricey side. But I thoroughly enjoyed the dishes here and will definitely be back.
Lee Lo Mei
G/F 8 Lyndhurst Terrace
Phone: 2896 7688
Spend per person: HK$500 with drinks