When thinking about Michelin Starred restaurants, I have a picture in my mind of unique little and sometimes large restaurants with a mad chef toiling in the kitchen striving for perfection. Sure, there are some exceptions, such as the global phenomenon Joel Robuchon and his chain of L'Atelier Joel Robuchon restaurants (see post here and here). But those restaurants are spread across the globe, and until recently, I thought an exception.
Lei Garden is a bit of a local success story in Hong Kong, starting from humble beginnings in 1973 with a lone outlet in Sham Shui Po to a restaurant empire with twenty four branches across Hong Kong, Macau, China and Singapore. Most impressively, in Hong Kong along, there are six outlets that have acquired coveted Michelin Stars. While that sounds impressive, the business hit its peak in 2012 when it held eight individual stars and even more impressively, a two star restaurant at Mong Kok.
We'd walked past a number of the Lei Gardens in our time exploring Hong Kong, with many of them being located in some of the larger shopping complexes. It wasn't until one Sunday evening, wandering around ICF in Central that we'd decided to give the restaurant a try. There is a fun game I play at times, trying to get into Michelin Starred restaurants without a booking, something that would be impossible in Europe, but quite achievable in HK. As luck would have it, we managed to score a table.... With the proviso that we would be finished within an hour, so we didn't have too much time to waste.