Bar review: Malt Whisky Bar in quiet Sheung Wan corner is worth a shot
Cosy place in a friendly neighbourhood setting at far western end of Hollywood Road offers great selection of single malts and whisky-based cocktails
The vibe: Malt is a small, ground-floor bar tucked away in quiet New Street at the far western end of Hollywood Road. Shades of dark, peaty brown and low leather chairs at small tables, with a golden glow of backlit whisky bottles on the walls, give a cosy feel. Staff are welcoming and knowledgeable.
The drinks: Malt boasts a fine collection of whiskies, primarily from Scotland, plus a smaller selection from Japan and other countries. There’s a choice of 12 tasting flights, attractively priced (four whiskies each, starting from HK$180, with a choice of 15ml or 30ml servings) and helpfully presented with a full explanation of each whisky.
The Cask Strength option (HK$360) included two Scottish classics (Aberlour A’bunadh from Speyside and 12 Year Lagavulin from Islay) alongside Kavalan from Taiwan and Amrut from India. The Kavalan was disappointing, like a rather rough blended Scotch but the Amrut was a real discovery – smooth and rich with flavours of cinnamon and honey and a whiff of Christmas pudding.
The list of whisky-based signature cocktails is impressively original and makes smart use of different whisky styles. Beginning at the End (HK$120, Marker’s Mark, rosso vermouth, lemon juice, orange bitters, raspberry jam) was fruity and soft, with vanilla notes from the bourbon nicely balanced by the bitters and citrus. Golden Malt (HK$120, Nikka barrel strength, Liqueur de Poire William Massenez, fresh pear, lemon, Earl Grey nectar) was fresh and elegant and came prettily decorated with slices of pear and an ear of dried corn. Both cocktails brought off successful marriages of their diverse flavours and were sweet without being cloying.
Unlike many of Hong Kong’s whisky bars (which can take purism too far), Malt also carries a full range of other premium liquors and cocktails and if you prefer a James Bond Vesper Martini to a Highland malt they’re happy to oblige.
The verdict: Malt is well worth the trip to the far end of Hollywood Road – a genuine neighbourhood bar with a friendly feel and first-class drinks.
Malt Whisky Bar, 19 New Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2858 0058
Open: Monday to Friday 4.30pm-midnight, Saturday 4.30pm-2am
Two other Hong Kong whisky bars we’ve reviewed recently