GOOD TASTE

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

Home Journal - - CONTENTS - BY JOHNA BAYLON PHO­TOG­RA­PHY AMANDA KHO

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

香港只有少數大樓能逃過清拆重建的厄運。前身為中區警署的大館喜獲換上全新面貌,活現出傳統古蹟的魅力。

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。

15,000平方呎空間的大部分歷史特色均獲細意保留,並請來得獎設計工作室AB Con­cep­t操刀處理,打造出既熟悉又與別不同的獨特設計。

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。

Ed對自己能再有機會活化舊建築深感榮幸。「身在香港的我們沒有太多傳統大樓,這次體驗的確難得一遇,試問你還可以在香港找到同一樣的建築嗎?」//

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。

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