Mai­son Eight rein­vents the cock­tail bar

HK Magazine - - PAGE 3 - Eve­lyn Lok

The buzz: Mai­son Eight is the first Asian ven­ture by UK-based Ital­ian mixol­o­gist Sal­va­tore Cal­abrese. He’s con­sid­ered the god­fa­ther of the cock­tail world, and is known for su­perla­tives like cre­at­ing the world’s old­est drink (made of rare fine liquors) and the world’s most ex­pen­sive cock­tail at The Play­boy Club in May­fair—so you get an idea of what Mai­son Eight is go­ing for. It’s a multi-con­cept en­ter­tain­ment venue: A din­ing room, called “Esmé,” a jazz ball­room-slash-club with pri­vate ter­race (“The Ball­room”), a bar (“Sal­va­tore”) and a pri­vate din­ing venue, as well as boast­ing the first ever Bollinger Cham­pagne Room (“Le Club 1829”).

The dé­cor: In the spa­cious main room which makes up Sal­va­tore and The Ball­room, baller de­tails are ev­ery­where you look: from the elab­o­rate chan­de­liered ceil­ing to the booth so­fas that re­call lux­ury lim­ou­sines. At the bar, we were im­pressed with the art­ful glass bar top, cut in lay­ered waves to look like the har­bor— com­ple­ment­ing the 360-de­gree view of the sky­line, which you can peek at even be­hind the bar.

The drinks: There’s a long, fully fea­tured cock­tail list, a com­bined ef­fort of Sal­va­tore and his pro­tégé Fa­bien Mar­cault, who runs the bar in Hong Kong. From Sal­va­tore’s list, the Spicy Fifty ($98) is pop­u­lar, for good rea­son: us­ing vanilla vodka and el­der­flower cor­dial, it’s deeply aro­matic, not too sweet, and ends with a nicely rounded, light siz­zle of chili. One of Mar­cault’s pop­u­lar con­coc­tions is the Zen Cha ($108—pic­tured), which folds to­gether the grassy re­fresh­ing notes of basil and green tea with the tart, mor­eish fla­vor of lemon­grass­in­fused Ab­so­lut Elyx and pineap­ple juice. Our fa­vorite of the night was the Smokey Hong Kong ($108): a smoky blend made with Chivas 12-year and Ard­berg 10-year whiskies, and honey-in­fused Lap­sang Sou­chong tea. Or­der the Re­mem­ber the Maine No. 2 ($118) if you’re look­ing to im­press: They first wash a small wooden bar­rel with a mix of berries, port and vine­gar, then add the cock­tail in­gre­di­ents—bour­bon, ver­mouth, a se­cret Amaro mix and more—be­fore leav­ing it to rest for two months. It’s an in­tense drink that brings out the port fla­vor nicely, with a light herby af­ter­taste thanks to the ver­mouth.

Why you’ll be back: The bar at Mai­son Eight is sur­pris­ingly un­pre­ten­tious, with very rea­son­able pric­ing for drinks that show such at­ten­tion to de­tail, amaz­ing sur­round­ings and de­li­cious bar snacks

(try the lob­ster burger ($148), which fea­tures a meaty beast of a lob­ster patty). Pull up a chair on the ter­race, sit back to en­joy the live jazz, and watch the har­bor lights flicker away.

21/F, 8 Ob­ser­va­tory Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2388-8160, maisoneight.com

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