‘East meets West’ Concoctions in Colonial Splendour at Tai Kwun
Part of the trilogy of landmark new venues by Aqua Restaurant Group at Tai Kwun, The Dispensary is an eclectic lounge bar that sits between two British and Chinese restaurants on the top floor of the beautifully transformed colonial Central Police Headquarters building where the Officers’ Mess was located.
Vet’s Antidote is a potent combination of Bulleit Bourbon and Mancino Rosso and absinthe aptly named after a police doctor who was affectionately known as “The Vet”. Topped with a mint chocolate treat and boasting a glimmering gold lustre this after-dinner digestif will warm and restore the senses to see off the most unwanted ailments.
Opium Old Fashioned gives an Oriental twist to the classic old fashioned, with Bulleit Bourbon infused with Oolong tea, honey, mandarin and Angostura Bitters served with a smoky mist on the rocks. In keeping with its Chinese heritage, the cocktail is served within a miniature bamboo dim sum basket which opens with a dramatic puff of aromatic applewood smoke.
The Dan Tat is a reimagined version of Hong Kong’s favourite egg tart that features pineapple rum shaken with a milk-infused egg tart, and cream soda cordial finished with lemon and nutmeg. This innovative concoction takes over twelve hours to create and conjures up a creamy dessert flavour and texture. Served in a dainty Chinese teacup, the Dan Tat is perfect for post-prandial enjoyment as a sweet indulgence.
To complement these cocktails, The Dispensary serves a selection of nostalgic British and Chinese bar snacks. British snacks include the likes of savoury Pork Crackling with Apple Sauce and sweet Chocolate Cherry Teacakes, whilst the Chinese snacks include Yunnan Ham on Tofu Crisp and irresistible Deep-fried Chocolate Hazelnut Balls. The bar snacks are available to guests both inside The Dispensary and also outside on each of the restaurants’ spacious verandahs. Aptly named; Beijing and Shanghai on The Chinese Library side with Queen Victoria and Queen Mary on the Statement side, guests can choose to overlook Hollywood Road or gaze out at Tai Kwun’s magnificent Parade Ground.
The Dispensary was brought to life by Hong Kong design powerhouse AB Concept, infusing classic touches with modern nuances. Low velvet lounge chairs gather around intimate tables topped with British traditional-style bronze serving trays. The bar is meticulously designed to mimic an old police armoury with ornate shelving. The gold glow of the bar beautifully complements the striking blue palette used on the walls which is reminiscent of the old Hong Kong police uniforms.
The walls are adorned with two specially designed mirrored shields inscribed with historical tales of the building’s past; including one about the mighty South China tiger and one sharing the history of the original police officer’s mess. The area where The Dispensary stands today is in fact the same area within the officers’ mess where the police officers were rumoured to have their off-duty bar, and its black and white tiled floor is similar to how the original floor of the Mess would likely have been.
The three stunning venues together occupy the entire top floor, an expansive 15,000 sq foot, of the old Police Headquarters building which dates back to 1919. The Dispensary stands alongside two of Aqua Restaurant Group’s new landmark venues, which together evoke the story of Hong Kong’s colourful history. The bridge between East and West, it sits between modern British restaurant, Statement, and The Chinese Library; a restaurant which presents the best loved dishes from the various Chinese cuisines that were brought to Hong Kong by the different waves of migrants who have made Hong Kong the vibrant and successful city that it is today.
Police Headquarters, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong.
T 2848 3000 | www.aqua.com.hk | IG @thedispensaryhk
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