The heat is rising in the 852 – and we don’t just mean the weather. With new bars and restaurants opening up left, right, and centre, and new menus launching refreshing treats to help us tackle the sweltering heat, there’s plenty to get excited about when it comes to wining and dining in the city.
New Speakeasy Frank’s Library
A speakeasy within a speakeasy – whatever next? Concealed behind a red velvet curtain and fake elevator control panel in hidden jazz bar Foxglove is Hong Kong’s newest cocktail den, Frank’s Library. Push the right button (we won’t tell you which one because that’s half the fun!) and lo and behold, the door will open to a secret alcove filled with novels, trinkets, and cocktails inspired by the globe-trotting adventures of Frank Minza, a fictitious English gentleman who enjoyed hosting guests at the venue. Seating only 20 people, this chic insiders-only den boasts a collection of six ‘Travel Diary Cocktails’, made using the freshest ingredients and premium spirits by acclaimed top mixologist Derek Tsui. The potent collection includes the Mad Tea-Party ($100), a combination of Johnnie Walker Black Label, fresh apple juice, cold brew earl grey tea and caramel syrup, and the Savoy Truffle ($100), which blends oolong house-infused gin and honey water with a cream cheese foam (yep, cream cheese). The Iryūjon ($150) completely steals the show, however, presenting a unique combo of Four Fox Saké, St. Germain, ginger syrup, yuzu juice, Angostura bitters and egg white, within a delicate bird-shaped glass garnished with an edible flower – one for the gram! Thankfully, Frank takes reservations and walk-ins, so you won’t have to wait long to check it out – that’s if you can find it!
Frank’s Library, Foxglove 18 Ice House Street, 6 Duddell Street, Central, (+852) 2116 8949
New Cocktail Bar The Wise King
Nestled away in an alleyway off Staunton Street, behind a discreet door beside a mural of stoic, medieval kings, lies The Wise King, an independent Spanish themed cocktail bar which takes the name of the 13th century king, Alfonso X of Castile. Here, you will stumble upon a small yet opulent interior, where soft, golden lighting illuminates decadent wallpaper scattered with golden crowns and giant letter W’s to remind you that you are in the presence of royalty. As legend goes, The Wise King issued a decree that no alcoholic beverage should be served without food, so within this old-world lounge, you will find a menu of delicious tapas – such as Patata Bravas and Spanish Charcuterie and Cheese selections – to enjoy alongside exquisitely made cocktails. Mixes include the deliciously sharp El Sabio ($108), which carries fruity hints with a spiced peach and pineapple wine reduction and Cava, and The Monti-Tipple ($108), which features Xeco Amontillado sherry, Gin Mare, Café Vermouth, and aromatic choco bitters. Those seeking pure indulgence will love the dessert-like Turrón Sour ($118), with Woodford bourbon, toasted nuts honey syrup, citrus, and thick foam, accompanied by a chunk of nougat with toasted almond on a golden pineapple pick. Of course, no court is complete without music, and thankfully, Alfonso X had great taste. As you sit back and lap up the laid-back vibes, you are treated to jazzy covers of mainstream hits by the talented Postmodern Jukebox. Perfect for those who crave a getaway from the bustling streets of modern-day Hong Kong and a good old chinwag with friends.
The Wise King, 25 Staunton Street, Basement, Soho, Tsung Wing Lane, Central, (+852) 2326 5822
New Floral Teas at Flamingo Bloom
The most colourful tea salon, with the best Instagram snaps in the city, has launched two new flavours to help Hong Kongers battle the sweltering heat. The Lychee Jasmine Tips Green ($39) and the highly “grammable” What-a-melon x Jasmine Tips Green ($49) are the latest additions to the colourful menu at the Central and TST stores, presented in a carved out watermelon which blends beautifully with the tropical wall art in this quirky venue. Both made from top-quality ingredients and jam-packed with vitamins and free of caffeine, preservatives, and added sugar, the new items taste just as gorgeous as they look. To offer busy Hong Kongers a nutritional and refreshing mid-day snack or breakfast, the salon has also added a new Virgin Pineapple Piña Colada Smoothie Bowl to its menu, which features a sorbet-like base made of bananas, red grapes, raw oats, mulberries, and almond milk, sprinkled with toasted granola, fresh pineapple, banana, strawberries, and goji berries. This sweet, antioxidant-packed blend is served either in an individual cup ($59) or in a freshly-halved pineapple for two people ($89) – adorable! If you’re keen to try it out then why not swing by the newly-opened Flamingo Bloom salon in ifc mall and check out the new products and promotions on offer.
Flamingo Bloom, G/F, Shop B, World Trust Tower, 50 Stanley Street, Central, (+852) 5177 8255
Shop 1032, IFC mall, Central, (+852) 8300 8034
G/F, Mangan Building, 18-20 Cameron Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, (+852) 5178 7067
Coming Soon: New Bar Hugger Mugger
Another hidden bar – yay! Concealed behind an unassuming red door on Wyndham Street, British salon Hugger Mugger is the latest Pirata Group venue to cause a stir in the city’s main drinking district. Located just across the street from the new Tai Kwun heritage and arts hub, the hidden underground gem offers an enigmatic atmosphere of intrigue, seating only 29 guests at any one time, which gives it an exclusive kind of feel. Inspired by 1970s London, the bar features British racing green leather sofas, accents of brass, warm timbers, and an impressive menu of cocktails inspired by Britain’s cultural legends. Guests can find themselves sipping on the likes of Ian Fleming, Pink Floyd, and William Shakespeare – what a mix! On the far side of the salon is a majestic hand-carved wooden door leading into a world of unexpected surprises, which we won’t tell you because we don’t want to spoil the fun! The bar is scheduled to open in August so make sure you get in on the secret for a rollicking good time.
Hugger Mugger, Basement, No. 43-55, Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 2362 8988
Revamped Menu at Picada
The colourful Latin restaurant is keeping things fresh with a revamped menu just in time for summer. Offering to take diners on a culinary culinary expedition through Latin America the menu features dishes inspired by Spain, Peru, Africa, China and even Japan. Among our favourites are the Peruvian Ceviche ($148), Seared Scallops ($98 for two pieces), and a tantalising assortment of tacos including Soft Shell Crab ($68), Beef Ribs ($58), and Chicken Al Pastor ($50). But stealing the show completely are the 3 Duck Rice ($248) and the beast of a display – the 40oz Tomahwak Steak ($1,200). A selection of heavenly cocktails is also on offer, including the sharp and refreshing Pisco Sour (with a a choice raspberry, strawberry, or passionfruit) and the cooling Cacique with Pampera Rum, butterscotch, blueberry, and kaffire leaves. Just make sure you leave enough room for the Chocolate Mousse ($98) with Peruvian chocolate and the Mexican Churros ($88) served in a doughnut-like shape with chocolate sauce, homemade dulce de leche sauce, and ice cream. With its vibrant Latin style interior and laid-back atmosphere, Picada is the perfect spot to unwind with friends over a delicious Pisco and mouth-watering bites. Swing by at 8.30pm on a Thursday evening and you’ll even catch some salsa dancing with Frankie the Salsaman!
Picada, 2-3/F, LKF29, 29 Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 3425 4037
New Lunch Menu at Chifa
Pirata Group’s Peel Street dumpling house, Chifa, has launched a daily lunch menu to lure hungry diners through its doors. The restaurant blends together the flavours of Peruvian and Chinese cuisine to create intriguing dumplings and distinctive dishes that pay homage to the cross-cultural chifa cuisine. Chifa’s daytime offering presents two set menus: the Express ($128), which comes with a choice of one dumpling dish and a rice or noodle dish, and the more leisurely Chifa ($168) menu, which adds wonton soup and dessert or espresso to the meal. Among the popular dishes introduced this summer are the Crispy Pork Roll ($85) wrapped with thin rice paper and Peruvian yellow chili aioli with lime juice, and the Rice & Quinoa ($70), which are shaped into patties and topped with a creamy house-made edamame, avocado, and chili sauce. Bold flavours define the Dumplings section, with delicately hand-crafted creations including the beetroot-infused Violet Xiao Long Bao ($70), filled with pork tenderloin and vegetable stock on a bed of roasted vegetable cream, and the crispy Wantan & Salsa ($65) which features fluffy potato, carrots, and peas. To wash it all down are some beautifully crafted cocktails including the Spring Legend ($95) with pink dragon fruit, Pisco, burnt orange, and egg white, and The Canary ($100) with white umeshu, banana liqueur, and white vermouth. A word of warning though, Chifa takes limited reservations so arrive early to avoid the lunch queue.
Chifa Dumpling House, G/F, 26 Peel Street, Central, (+852) 2311 1815
New Saturday Brunch at FUMI
If you love sushi then you’re in for a serious treat as Japanese restaurant FUMI has launched an all-you-can-eat sushi weekend brunch. The trendy eatery, which was voted the “Hottest New Restaurant in 2018” by CNN, is inviting diners to tuck into a selection of four different grilled skewers, twelve sushi dishes, six snacks, seasoned miso soup, and a special dessert of the day, for a reasonable $450 per head. Guests can also choose one of two free-flow drinks packages, which include beers, wines, and sake, for an additional $128 or $168. Located in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong, on the sixth floor of California Tower, FUMI is a plush venue boasting stylish, geometric gold walls, a sleek black bar, and tables seating intimate groups of up to four people, making this a great option for brunching with close friends or partners.
FUMI, 6/F, California Tower, Lan Kwai Fong, 30 – 36 D’Aguilar St, Central, (+852) 2328 3302
Every Saturday, Sunday, and public holiday from 11.30am to 3pm
$450 per person (free-flow package an additional $128 or $168)
20th Anniversary Brunch at Olé Spanish Restaurant
There’s a reason this legendary Spanish eatery has remained a Central landmark for the past 20 years – the food is amazing! If you love tapas in a romantic and authentic setting, then Olé Spanish Restaurant is your ideal spot. The newly launched 20th anniversary brunch invites you to feast on a menu that features twenty all-time favourite dishes (yep, you read that right) enjoyed by the venue’s customers over the past two decades. Sizzling Garlic Prawns, Baby Squids in Ink Sauce, Sautéed Chorizo with Garlic and Chives, and Traditional Spanish Seafood Paella are just some of the delights that grace this exquisite menu. And if that wasn’t enough to lure you through the rustic arched alcoves of this hidden gem, then surely one of the three free-flow drinks packages will (see below). Romantic souls will be charmed to the core as they sip on chilled Sangria, munch on Hot Chocolate Churros, and enjoy beautiful live performances from the restaurant’s musical duo who will literally serenade you on a Spanish guitar at your table – magic! At an unbeatable price of $380 per person, Olé sits right up there on our list of favourite brunches in Hong Kong.
Olé Spanish Restaurant, 1/F, Shun Ho Tower, 24 Ice House Street, Central, (+852) 2537 8856
Every Saturday and public holiday from 12pm to 3pm
$380 (adults) $228 (kids) Free-flow options: juice and soft drinks ($88) / Cava and Sangria ($150) / White wine, red wine, Cava, and Sangria ($180)
Read more! Explore the rest of our Food & Drink section at Localiiz.