Tuesday 15 July 2014

Bar review #10: The Quinary (Hong Kong)

As mentioned a few days ago, Steph and I recently moved to Hong Kong. Having a solid 10 days off before starting work not only let us sort out all the fun admin stuff (IDs, bank accounts, etc, yawn) but also afforded us plenty of time for sight-seeing, and equally importantly, bar and restaurant exploring!

One of the bars that was high on my list of places to visit was Quinary, in the heart of Hong Kong's SOHO district. While Hong Kong has some incredible bars catering to all tastes and budgets, in the past cocktails have often taken a back seat to whisky and wine. Quinary's addition to the HK bar scene in 2012 was an attempt to bring quality, unique cocktails to appreciative audiences, with an added air of molecular inventiveness.

I knew we had to find a worthy replacement for our beloved Sydney cocktail bars (like Eau de Vie and Bulletin Place - relaxing bars with a focus on quality spirits, cocktails, creativity and banter), and had high hopes this could be it. We certainly weren't disappointed...

Arriving on a Monday night we found the bar lively but certainly not too busy. We found ourselves two seats at the bar (our preferred spot at any bar!) and started looking through the menu when Samuel, the bar's manager came over to say a friendly hello and talk us through the concept behind the bar. Samuel explained that Quinary is part of the Tastings Group, whose previous bars include a whisky bar called Angel's Share (review to follow, of course!) and a wine bar called Tastings. They've also recently added a fourth, gin-focused bar called Ori-Gin (which is also now high on our list of places to visit).

While the menu boasted a number of interesting cocktails, for me it was hard to go past the "Cinema Set" a short, sharp mix of caramel popcorn-infused rye whiskey, a dash of cola syrup, bitters, with an orange peel garnish, served alongside a small side of popcorn. Perfectly balanced, it could serve well as a cocktail to kick off the night (as it did for me) or to end the night (as it no doubt will on a future visit!)

Steph went for the bar's signature "Earl Grey Martini", with vodka, elderflower syrup, apple juice, Cointreau, lemon & lime and earl grey caviar pearls (fun to see being made right in front of us). A playful cocktail with a mix of foam, liquid and solid edible "pearls".

In a city with 100% tax on spirits (yes, feel my pain fellow Aussies. We also left 95% of our whisk(e)y collection in Australia due to customs limits!) the prices were quite reasonable and were about what you'd expect for a quality establishment making cocktails such as these. Most were in the $120-$150HKD ($17-$20AUD) range, which is no different to similar bars in Sydney/Melbourne.

So, we've found our "go to" cocktail bar, but what about a whisky bar? Stay tuned...review to follow this week.

 - Martin.

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