Tai Kwan, Hong Kong's centre for heritage and arts that is situated in the restored Central Police Station compound, is welcoming the opening of a new lounge bar called The Dispensary located between two British and Chinese restaurants on the top floor of the beautifully transformed colonial Central Police Headquarters building.
Managed by Aqua Restaurant Group, the Dispensary offers an additional extensive list of wines, spirits and artfully concocted signature creations to complement its neighbouring counterparts, Statement and The Chinese Library. Like the two restaurants, the drinks mirror both the British and Chinese aspects of Hong Kong’s heritage, incorporating arresting stories of the police who made the building their home for over 100 years.
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 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.
Head mixologist and bar manager Isabella Vannoni takes contemporary British ingredients and traditional Chinese herbs to infuse and carefully craft a range of signature cocktails.
The British Collection includes The Crown, a unique drink which Vannoni says was inspired by reading that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was fond of carrot juice. A fresh and revitalising drink, it includes Tanqueray Gin shaken with Campari, lemon juice, rhubarb cordial and of course carrot juice mixed with aromatic Peychaud’s Bitters.
Recalling the date of Hong Kong’s last year as a British colony, the 1997 Punch features Johnnie Walker Black Label blended with passion fruit, chestnut syrup, lemon juice, egg white and soda water. Briskly shaken, the fresh, fruity and easy to drink concoction is served tall, resting in an ornate bronze frame.
Brave Burlingham meanwhile is named after the policeman who was said to have killed a tiger in a dramatic showdown in the New Territories after it had mauled two of his colleagues and local villagers. This crafted cocktail gives a nod to one of two large shields on either side of The Dispensary bar, which commemorate the 1915 tiger incident.
The Chinese Collection features the Mango Tree, which is an ode to the 60-year-old mango tree standing to this day stands within the grounds of the old Central Police Station. An abundance of fruit was said to imply that there would be either a large number of police promotions, or a lot of new cases solved that year.
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.
For details, visit www.Aqua.com.hk.