Delish Eats: Bino N’ Booze, A Uniquely Hong Kong Homage to Hotpot
April 04, 2023
Restaurant story: Founded by Lana Lam, the concept tugs at the heartstrings of any Hong Kong dweller, spotlighting the nostalgic collective experience of cooking your favourite local bites while gathered around a piping hot broth that boils to collect layers of flavours. Drawing upon hot pot as a centrepiece for celebrations and shared meals to have with loved ones and friends, Bino N’ Booze brings out the communal joy that comes out of the experience.
What’s the vibe and venue like: Occupying two storeys with a vibrantly decorated 5,000 square foot of space, the restaurant stands in a calmer corner of the culturally rich and maze-like Sham Shui Po neighbourhood. The interiors are decorated in a playful splash of neons, oranges, and green, giving a fresh and playful twist to classic Hong Kong dining parlours in a unique way.
How much does it cost: HK$1,654 in total for what we ordered. Do note that portions of most dishes at our table were adjusted to suit our two-person group, to allow a better variety of options whilst avoiding food waste. Therefore, the pricing above better reflects the cost for a four-person group.
What is the menu about: The menu is well-varied, serving up a range of reinterpreted authentic Hong Kong delights. The selections for cooking offer quality ingredients and modernized versions of classic items, whilst the ready-to-eat dishes show a reverence for the local taste through thoughtful cooking that’s perceptible with each bite.
What did we order: Signature Red Wine Oxtail and Tomato Soup (HK$288), Iced Live Abalone (HK$58), Golden Shrimp Toast (HK$88), Deep Fried Cuttlefish with Salt and Pepper (HK$88), Steer Meat Deluxe Platter (HK$498), Supreme Fish Maw (HK$188), Dumpling Platter 8pcs (HK$118), Handmade Cuttlefish Ball (HK$58 for 4), Handmade Shrimp Ball (HK$58 for 4), Fresh Vegetable Platter (HK$88), Japanese Inaniwa Udon (HK$48), Brown Sugar Glutinous Rice Cake (HK$38), Brown Sugar Ice Jelly (HK$38).
Signature Red Wine Oxtail and Tomato Soup: A literal melting pot of flavours, the soup was at once evocative of Hong Kong cha chaan teng borscht (a Ruso-inspired marriage of flavours with Shanghainese origins), as well as homely French beef bourguignon stock. Presented with a decanter of red wine, the vibrant and rich-in-flavour soup base was given that extra “ooh la la” with bright scarlet swirls.
Iced Live Abalone: The abalone’s natural sweetness was brought out with the marinade of soft fragrance that seems to be coming from Chinese wine. The presentation made for a delightful beginning to the meal to come.
Golden Shrimp Toast: Served on thick toast, a departure from the usual thin crunch that I am familiar with – this appetizer offered a delicious, enhanced take on the classic snack. The toast is buttery yet still crisp, the shrimp portioned on top is succulent in each mouthful, and the dish overall is not at all oily.
Deep Fried Cuttlefish with Salt and Pepper: As thoroughly enjoyable as the bouncy squid and mala powder coated crunch of the batter was, the lack of sleazy greasiness that the typical Dai Pai Dong seasons this dish with is what makes it feel a little restrained. Though it could have been heavier handed, the salt and pepper mix still tastes true to the Hong Kong style of cooking, and the thoughtfulness of letting us tailor the spiciness to our own taste was a good move.
Steer Meat Deluxe Platter: Being customarily thinly sliced, the meat boils quickly. Delicious by itself, each slice soaks up the rich savoury palate of the soup, and fantastically savoury and meaty with a bit of sauce to taste.
Supreme Fish Maw: Bouncy and fresh, it represented a unique bite in Cantonese cuisine that we really liked. Plus, the collagenic value of fish maw is always a great nutritional add.
Handmade Cuttlefish Ball, Handmade Shrimp Ball: As I picked up the marine meat balls to drop into the soup, the mounds felt soft, showing that the makeup of these balls did not skimp on the meat using the common tactic of substituting for density with flour. Cooked, the balls were springy and substantial.
Dumpling Platter 8pcs: The selection of fillings includes truffle abalone, fresh prawn in a Wonton style, Berkshire pork with chives, and the local signature of Phoenix dumplings, which feature a mix of ground pork and vegetables. The truffle laced option is definitely unique, embodying the East-meets-West flair central to the restaurant’s character, and is full of flavour in each bite thanks to its star ingredient.
Fresh Vegetable Platter, and Japanese Inaniwa Udon: I would have preferred a selection of leafier parts from the curation of greens, as the options presented consisted of too many stalks. The veggie options included: crystalline iceplant, cabbage, enoki mushroom, and corn – the final item being especially delicious when cooked. The udon was supple and filling, a great choice for those like me, who like their noodles on the thicker side.
Brown Sugar Glutinous Rice Cake: Served fresh out of the kitchen, with a decadently soft chewy centre and crisp coating, these rice cakes are the perfect vessel to ensconce the running brown sugar middle that’s not overpoweringly sweet.
Brown Sugar Ice Jelly: As recommended by our server as a light bite that won’t weigh too heavy on the stomach after such a hefty array of food, this dessert was exactly the refreshing palate cleanser we needed.
What we liked: Bino N’ Booze is a bright space where we could share a casual meal of Hong Kongnese delights, with welcoming hospitality from the staff who carried with them old world charm that enhanced the all-around good vibes you could expect from a hot pot experience.
What we didn’t like: Upon our next visit, we would need to reconsider the number of dishes to order or go with a bigger group to suit the menu’s usual portion sizing. We would love to try the other unique broths, and sample other Cantonese items like Lotus Root Slice, Deluxe Pork and Mushroom Ball, Drunken Beef Shank, and Fried Beancurd Sheet.
What you should order: Signature Red Wine Oxtail and Tomato Soup, Iced Live Abalone, Golden Shrimp Toast, Steer Meat Deluxe Platter, Supreme Fish Maw, Dumpling Platter, Brown Sugar Glutinous Rice Cake, Brown Sugar Ice Jelly.
To get a taste of their signature broths and soups, try the YinYang Soup option that allows a combination of two choices.
Location: Bino N’ Booze, Shop A, GF & 1/F, 205 Hai Tan Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Contact details: +852 2682 4300 / (WhatsApp) +852 6353 5519
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by Bino N’ Booze in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.
Enjoyed this article? Check out our previous Delish Eats reviews here
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