Hong Kong restaurant Leela reimagines Indian flavour amid ‘poetic’ André Fu interiors

Leela in Hong Kong is the first solo project of chef Manav Tuli, whose take on historic dishes is matched by André Fu’s rich interior design

André Fu interior of Leela Hong Kong restaurant
(Image credit: Courtesy Leela)

New Hong Kong restaurant Leela sees restaurateur Yenn Wong, founder of local hospitality group JIA, triumph once again in this city that is not exactly short of a great place to eat. Behind existing favourites such as Duddell’s, Louise and Estro, amid a diverse portfolio that covers international fare from traditional French to southern Italian, JIA has teamed up with chef Manav Tuli for the launch of his first solo project.

André Fu interiors of Leela Hong Kong restaurant, with light coming in from windows

(Image credit: Courtesy Leela)

Formerly of Michelin-starred Chaat at Rosewood Hong Kong, Tuli has channelled his heritage with a concept that nods to the Mauryan Empire, which dates back to 322 BC and spanned from modern-day Afghanistan to Bangladesh. Reinventing classics such as Kandhari gosht and Chukandar gosht – historically significant dishes in the region at the time – but with an innovative twist, Tuli has elevated his menu using top-notch ingredients from local sustainable suppliers and spices that are certified GMO- and pesticide-free.

André Fu interiors at Leela, Hong Kong

Detail of lampshade

(Image credit: Courtesy Leela)

Following the food concept, the luxurious and understated interiors are the work of long-time JIA collaborator Andé Fu, who took his cues from the grandeur of traditional places in Jodhpur, India. ‘My vision was to create a mystical journey that aligns with the chef’s culinary philosophy,’ says Fu. ‘Eschewing clichés, it offers a personal interpretation of Indian history whilst striking a balance between the artful and the avant-garde. It is a poetic dreamscape that evokes an abstract re-telling of my personal memories exploring the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur.’

André Fu interiors of Leela Hong Kong restaurant, overview

(Image credit: Courtesy Leela)

Leela is set within Lee Garden Three, a luxury shopping  and dining destination in Causeway Bay, and its design unfolds through modern versions of traditional Indian architectural details, like decorative scalloped arches, latticed jali screens, jharokha windows, a 3.6m-high billowing ceiling – which mimics palatial roof contours – and intricate lamp posts inspired by the shape of a white lotus flower. The space is embellished by textured wall panels in a marquetry pattern and understated bamboo furnishings, all in a rich palette of mustard sand, ivory, deep aubergine, and mineral blue that come together to create an evocative setting that aligns with Tali’s equally expressive menu. 

Dishes of food at Leela Hong Kong restaurant

Dishes including Lucknowi tokri chaat (bottom left) and rainbow trout nilgiri korma (centre) and tandoori mix grill platter (right)

(Image credit: Courtesy Leela)

We suggest sampling dishes like the tasty bone marrow biryani, the Lucknowi tokri chaat, or Leela’s rendition of the classic chicken baida roti, an aromatic dish of succulent chicken wrapped in flaky roti, which originated on the streets of Mumbai, where Tuli grew up. 

Derived from the Sanskrit word, līlā, which means ‘play’, Leela and its chef have certainly boosted the Indian food scene in Hong Kong with this lighthearted and inventive approach to this much-loved cuisine.


Colourful plate of food

Tandoori beef chop

(Image credit: Courtesy Leela)

Lauren Ho is the former travel editor at Wallpaper*. Now a contributing editor, she roams the globe, writing extensively about luxury travel, architecture and design for both the magazine and the website, alongside various other titles. She is also the European Academy Chair for the World's 50 Best Hotels.