G/F, 16 Arbuthnot Road, Central
Tel: 9643 6571
The vibe: this new nightspot on a quiet stretch of Arbuthnot Road offers hip night owls a place to dance and lounge after the clubs in LKF have settled down. Upstairs is a brilliantly lit bar space with stark white furniture and a long marble bar. It took us some time to notice Taboo is designed as if upside down: decanters and bottles hang from the underside of the bar and there is a piano bolted to the parquet floor of the ceiling. The downstairs nightclub has another bar and a DJ. Taboo is an unashamedly late-night destination and doesn't get going until after 12.30am on the weekends.
The drinks: Taboo specialises in molecular cocktails - all the ones we sampled were skilfully made. A Kiwi Caviar (HK$130) was tart and refreshing: a generous pour of champagne and lemon juice, cut with gin and elderflower syrup and garnished with pearls of kiwi. The Smoked Cigar Old Fashioned (HK$130) was another success, although more reminiscent of a toasted marshmallow than the advertised ingredient. The bar was running low on vanilla, so the Ginger Vanilla Daiquiri (HK$130) was replaced by a Ginger Passion Fruit Daiquiri, to great effect. Wine lovers should steer clear, as Taboo offers only three varieties of wine, although the weakness of the current wine list is balanced by the extensive selection of champagne.
The verdict: a welcome addition to the late-night scene. The high-gloss decor and clientele may be a bit fancier than you are looking for at 2am, but the warm and engaging staff keep things from getting too stuffy.