A dining destination in Tai Kwun harks back to Hong Kong’s colonial past with three unique concepts: The Chinese Library, Statement, and The Dispensary
大館三大飲食概念餐廳The Chinese Library、Statement和The Dispensary重現昔日殖民地的魅力
Few buildings in Hong Kong are lucky to dodge the downside of progress, evading demolition for a new lease on life. The former Central Police Station is one of the handful, now given the name Tai Kwun along with rejuvenated purpose as a heritage centre.
There, in the Police Headquarters building, a sprawling dining destination harks back to the city’s colonial past, while dividing its space across three unique concepts: Statement, a British restaurant, occupies the West Wing on the top floor; to the east is The Chinese Library; and joining both at the centre is lounge bar The Dispensary.
Much of history has been preserved in the reimagining of the 15,000sqft space, designed by award-winning firm AB Concept, whose deft hand at detail comes through in their highly similar yet completely distinctive spaces.
At The Chinese Library, circular booths, marble tabletops, and
這座中區警署建築群中隱藏了一個追溯至殖民地往日色彩的用餐勝地，並劃分成三大獨特概念：西翼為英式餐廳Statement、東翼就是The Chinese Library，中間則為酒吧The Dispensary。
antique-inspired consoles outfit the room, while brass touches and lamp-lit mirrors imbue the space with quiet glamour, complementing the dishes of chef Junno Li. “My culinary philosophy is to unite different Chinese flavours and pair traditional ingredients with unique skills,” says Junno. “Luckily this aligned with the philosophy of the restaurant. Most of the dishes I have crafted are influenced by a variety of flavours: Cantonese, Chiu Chow, Sichuan, and Shanghainese, to name a few.” Chef Li further builds upon the interiors with his carving skills, which feature in striking dishes such as the chilled ‘Jade Flower’ in green Sichuan pepper essence, and the chrysanthemum ‘Thousand Cut’ silken tofu in chicken broth.
On the other side, Statement brings diners a taste of modern British cuisine. The panfried scallop, smoked cabbage heart with Welsh laverbread butter is beautifully tender and textured, while the slow-cooked Gressingham duck with plum sauce and salt-baked carrot offers some of the most tender and voluminous slices of the meat, juicy with flavour. Where chopsticks grace the table at The Chinese Library, Statement features silver cutlery. Angular private booths take the place of Chinese Library’s circular ones, while a brighter teal and turquoise palette distinguishes Statement’s quarters from the other side’s atmospheric jadetoned space.
Occupying the former Officers’ Mess Hall, The Dispensary serves as a lounge to both restaurants, and the stage for mixologist Isabella Vannoni’s British and Chinese cocktails, each shaken and stirred with a spin on the classics.
“For us, it’s all about stories,” says AB Concept founding principal Ed Ng. “This is the Central Police Station, and all these motifs take inspiration from the architecture.” The trilogy of restaurants is AB Concept’s second heritage building project, commissioned around the same time as their work for Mei Ume, the Chinese restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel London that was twice-awarded at the 2018 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.
Ed is grateful for the opportunity to redesign another heritage space for the present. “In Hong Kong, we don’t have many heritage buildings, so for us it’s very special. This kind of experience is non-replicable – where else would you find a building like this in Hong Kong?” //
來到The Chinese Library，相信你不難被渾圓座位、大理石桌面、古董風邊櫃的裝潢所迷倒，還有黃銅點綴和配上燈光的鏡面為餐廳注入低調豪華氣派，跟主廚Junno Li的精彩佳餚交映相輝。「我的美食哲學就是糅合不同中式味道，再選以傳統食材配合截然不同的技術。」Junno表示：「幸運地，這跟The Chinese Library的核心價值不謀而合。我大部菜式均深受廣東、潮洲、四川和上海等地區所影響。」李師傅更盡展雕塑工架，從藤椒拌翡翠和珊瑚菊花豆腐即可見一斑。
另一邊廂的Statement則為用餐者帶來現代英式美食。煎扇貝、煙燻白菜心伴威爾斯萊佛麵包牛油便兼具豐富質感，慢煮Gressingham鴨肉配梅子醬和鹽焗蘿蔔讓肉汁更顯鮮味。The Chinese Library以筷子伴桌，Statement則以銀餐具奉客。跟前者圓渾的座位相比，後者的座椅設計較顯角緣魅力，並以鮮藍綠色自然調和Statement與另一方極具情調的翡翠色空間。
作為兩間休閒區的The Dispensary盡展調酒師Isabella Vannoni的中英式雞尾酒魅力，每款飲品均以經典款式為本再混入嶄新意念發揮。
AB Concept創辦人Ed Ng指：「故事等同一切。身處中區警署，所有圖案也從建築本身而來。」是次項目屬AB Concept第二次處理古蹟設計，接洽時間與倫敦四季酒店Mei Ume中式餐廳屬同期，後者更於2018 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards得到兩項殊榮。
BAR NONE The Dispensary receives visitors arriving for drinks at the verandah or dinner at either side. Among its signature cocktails, The Brave Burlingham (opposite, leftmost), named in honour of an officer in the New Territories in 1915, is a twist on the daiquiri. 醉人酒吧 客人可前來The Dispensary的陽台品嚐美飲或享用晚餐。對頁圖最左方的Brave Burlingham為標誌雞尾酒精選，在經典調酒中混入新意思，並取名自1915年一位新界軍官。
TWO WORLDS Most striking about the two restaurants is how eerily similar they look and how palpably different they feel, thanks to AB Concept’s mastery at nuance and detail. 兩方之最 兩間餐廳最精彩之處莫過於設計雖然相類，但感覺體驗卻是與別不同，這還多得AB Concept對細節與美學的超凡運用。