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3. Molihua.jpg Brian Kennedy
Chef puts the finishing touches on a dish at Molihua.

Molihua opens at Houston’s Blossom Hotel from Michelin-starred chefs

The Japanese-meets-dim-sum restaurant comes from acclaimed chefs Ho Chee Boon and Hideki Hiwatashi

Two Michelin-starred chefs have teamed up to open a new restaurant in Houston. Molihua, which means “jasmine” in Chinese, comes from Ho Chee Boon and Hideki Hiwatashi, opened on April 23 on the second floor of the Blossom Houston hotel.

Molihua seats 80 diners across the dining room and sushi bar, with additional space in the private dining room. The jasmine motif also pops up in the restaurant’s contemporary design.

The à la carte menu blends modern and traditional elements, pulling inspiration from Japanese dining and Chinese dim sum. There’s a selection of small bites and shareable dishes, like Hamachi crudo with black truffle ponzu, crispy temaki tartare and a wagyu katsu sando.

The menu then moves to nigiri, sashimi and rolls, as well as soft shell crab tempura, hand-pulled noodles and iron pot rice. Grilled proteins include seabass, chicken yakitori and wagyu beef. The fusion menu is combined effort by the two chefs, who collectively bring 65-plus years of global culinary experience to the new restaurant.

Chef Ho Chee Boon has been in the restaurant industry for more than 35 years, including as the executive international chef for Hakkasan Global. He moved to the U.S. in 2012 to launch Hakkasan New York, which quickly earned one Michelin star. He then headed up subsequent U.S. Hakkasan openings in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Beverly Hills, and oversaw operations in Dubai, Mumbai, and Doha.  In 2021, he branched out on his own, launching Empress by Boon, a modern Cantonese restaurant in San Francisco.

Chef Hideki Hiwatashi has more than 30 years of experience in Japanese kitchens, including in the specialized art of kaiseki multi-course dining. His career stops span Sydney, Hokkaido, and Kyoto, where he eventually worked his way up to executive chef at Kikunoi Roan, which earned two Michelin stars during his tenure as head chef.  He’s also worked at Sake no Hana — Hakkasan Group’s Japanese fine-dining restaurant in London.

Although the chefs have cooked all over the world, they’re feeling particularly bullish about the vibrant culture and diverse culinary scene in Houston.

“Houston's rich mix of influences and ingredients presented a unique opportunity to create a dining experience that celebrates both tradition and innovation,” Boon said.

“Having worked in various major cities worldwide, including being involved in the launch of Yauatcha Houston during my time at the Hakkasan Group, I have found Houston's dining scene to be exceptionally dynamic and constantly evolving,” he added. “Houston stands out for its diverse and authentic culinary scene that’s rooted in the history of people that have moved to the city from all corners of the globe.”

Molihua is the second restaurant under the Boon Group, which also includes Empress by Boon in San Francisco. More openings could follow if the right opportunities present themselves.

“I am always on the lookout for new culinary opportunities to engage with food enthusiasts in different cities and cultures,” Boon said, noting that he is passionate about bringing people together through food. “I am excited about potential future restaurant ventures in Houston and beyond.”

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