Honest-to-god British comfort food at The Leah, a newly-opened eatery at Causeway Bay

It’s a family-friendly members-only club that goes by the name of Maggie & Rose during daytime, but as evening approaches, the third floor of Lee Garden Two gets almost magically transformed from a cutesy toddler-filled haven to a true-blue rustic British eatery, The Leah, that promises nothing less than “British food done right.”

The Leah
Scallop, leek and black pudding at The Leah

Upholding this admirable philosophy is The Leah’s Creative Director James Sharman, who is best known for hosting pop-ups in some rather unexpected places such the Mount Everest, a sleeper train in Vietnam, etc.  In comparison, the quaint venue in the middle of Causeway Bay may seem tame enough, but Sharman has already buckled up for the challenge here – to cook “hearty, fun food that people will crave over and over again”.   

The Leah
Scotch egg and soldiers

Eager to taste-test his take on British “comfort food”, we dove right into the first course, the Scallop, Leek and Black Pudding, a classic combination that is enhanced by the addition of the crunchy leeks. The next dish, Scotch Egg & Soldiers, proved to be equally irresistible, with the contrast between the melt-in-the-mouth duck egg yolk and the crunchiness of the breadcrumbs sure to be a hit with not just the Brits, but just about everyone.

However, the pies are the ones that deserve a special mention, with both the Chicken, Leek & Bacon Pie and Beef, Ale and Black Pepper Pie, luring us to go in for second helpings, all courtesy of their juicy meats.

The Leah
Beef, ale and black pepper pie

If is it Beef Wellington – a quintessential British dish – that you catches your fancy, you will have to pre-order; though, it may be worth the extra effort, given the tender preparation of beef fillet and Parma ham inside the puff pastry is surely a showstopper.

All in all, the true hero of the restaurant is its Creative Director, not just for his culinary skills – and he has tons of that – but for his ability to let his food do all the talking, with no frills attached.

The Leah
3/F, Lee Garden Two
28 Yun Ping Road
Causeway Bay
Tel: (852) 2337 7651

Text: Suchetana Mukhopadhyay


Brexfast of Champions: Newly un-EU’d UK nosh from Central-set Statement

Italy has gifted the world’s gourmands with seemingly never-ending pizza and pasta variations, while France has divvied a fine selection of cheese and jambons. Even Germany, meanwhile, has several sumptuous(ish) schnitzels and wursts to its name. What, though, of Great Britain? What can this sceptred isle claim by way of tummy treats for the internationally peckish?

If you’re thinking bangers and mash, boiled cabbage or pork pies, you’re not far off the mark when it comes to UKatering, though none of these are likely to get the Men from Michelin ordering seconds. Or, for the most part, firsts.


The widely-held view of England’s lack of eminence in the edibility stakes may just be about to change, however, with one new Central-set cuisinery – Statement – determined to bring a bite-to-eat Blighty-style bang-up-to-date as the Year of the Boar shuffles, trotters to the fore, into view. Set on the top floor of the wholly-renovated, heritage Tai Kwun building – once home to the former Central Police Station – and owned and operated by the always-sampleable Aqua Restaurant Group, it’s on a mission to see hungry Hongkongers soon noshing down on London-style lunches and supper a-la-Salisbury-style.

Upon stepping into Statement’s decorously-appointed dining area, it is immediately apparent that Aqua is keen to dispel any notion that that it has invested its hard-earned money in an upmarket fish-and-chippery. From its coolly elegant dark interiors to its plush tropical verandahs (overlooking either the fleshpots of Hollywood Road or the Tai Kwun Compound) nary the merest hint of battered haddock is to be had. Indeed, all thoughts of stodgy servings vanish as the first plate hoves into view.

Heirloom beetroot ravioli with aubergine & red pepper, kaffir lime yogurt

Our particular tasting began in fine form with the first of the starters being no less than Heirloom beetroot parcels with aubergine, red pepper, kaffir lime yoghurt, with not the faintest whiff of a pea, mushy or otherwise. If anything, a tad reminiscent of a rich ravioli, these pure purple bites enveloped a delicately-balanced red pepper-eggplant concoction, perfectly contrasting with the tart yoghurt and a generous sprinkle of pistachio nut crumble. Belying its arresting hues, the flavours were the last word in sophisticated subtlety.

Next up was Pan-fried Hokkaido scallops, smoked cabbage heart with Welsh laverbread butter. Here, the oft-derided cabbage took star billing as a perfect smoky foil for the exquisitely cooked, succulent scallops. The creamy, umami-packed laver sauce – a seaweed derivative, who knew? – then added just the right oceanic note, tying the whole dish together superbly.

Pan-fried Hokkaido scallops, smoked cabbage heart with Welsh laverbread butter
Pan-fried Hokkaido scallops, smoked cabbage heart with Welsh laverbread butter

Barely was the last scallop swallowed, when main course numero uno – Slow-cooked 24-hour marinated braised British oxtail – arrived, with the wait staff rightly billing it as a nicely novel alternative to the more standard steak fare. No disagreement on our part, with the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the shredded oxtail – paired with the tart tomato compote and smooth potato puree – a fitting treat for even the most discerning meat-minded diner.

That, though, proved just the warm-up act for main course number two – Slow-cooked Grassingham duck with plum sauce and salt-baked carrot. Perhaps oddly for a Great British game dish, it called to mind Peking Duck, with the well-prepared duck breast pairing perfectly with the piquancy of the plum sauce.

Cranberry poached pear, buttermilk caramel mousse and Scottish shortbread

Full to the point of belt-buckle unbuckling, the prospect of a perfidious Albion afters remained irresistible and the Cranberry poached pear, buttermilk caramel mousse and Scottish shortbread combo didn’t disappoint. In particular, the refreshing tanginess of the bite-sized pear morsels proved the perfect counterpoint to our hearty repast. Add in the crunch of the secret-recipe shortbread and the tantalisingly sweet caramel mousse and it was a finely finessed finale to an unexpectedly haute cuisine experience.


From smoked cabbage hearts and braised oxtail to juicy duck breasts and poached pears, the establishment’s unambiguous ability to take ordinary British ingredients and transform them into a truly high-end culinary experience not only allows it to set a new benchmark in British gourmandry, it allows it to make a truly memorable Statement.

Text: Tenzing Thondup