Bar review: Potato Head, Sai Ying Pun – it’s not just the beach that’s missing
Hong Kong outpost of famed club in Bali has tropical feel and cocktails are stylishly presented, but the cocktails lack alcoholic punch
The vibe: this newly opened Hong Kong outpost of Bali’s celebrated Potato Head Beach Club brings a touch of the tropics to trendy Sai Ying Pun, with a shop selling Balinese goods, fine dining restaurant Kaum and a spacious bar that doubles as a coffee shop. Backpackers and beach bums would feel at home in the casual ambience, with well-worn 1960s-style wooden furniture and Indonesian rugs, warm, friendly service and music played on what looks (but doesn’t sound) like an old-fashioned home stereo.
The drinks: the cocktails are designed to incorporate Indonesian elements in presentation (consistently stylish) and flavours, yet despite the exotic ingredients and premium liquor, were rather tame – or perhaps they just don’t work as well in an urban setting. The Rosella Margarita (HK$120, rosella-infused Ocho Tequila, orange curacao, vanilla syrup and lime), could have done with more lime and the tequila was masked, rather than balanced, by the rosella and vanilla.
My companion expressed a craving for coconut (surely a seminal tropical ingredient), only to find there was nothing on the list. However, the bartender obligingly improvised a blend of coconut juice, spiced rum, palm sugar and curacao (HK$120). Served in a fresh coconut and decorated with a lighted cinnamon stick, it looked good but tasted bland – plenty of coconut, too little alcohol.
The Indo Bloody Mary (HK$120, pepper-infused Ketel One vodka, tomato, beetroot and carrot juices, sambal, tamarind, cloves, red chilli, coriander leaves, black pepper and sea salt) was a good take on the traditional version and not nearly as fierce as it sounded. The beetroot juice added a distinctive note and the garnish of cherry tomato and Chinese celery was a nice touch.
The Barong Zombie (HK$135, Nusa Caña and Myers’s rum, pineapple-infused arak, orange curacao, cherry liqueur, absinthe, pink grapefruit, guava and pineapple juice, passion fruit syrup and bitters), served in a fun teak cup with a monkey’s face carved on it, was another sweet, fruity concoction – the alcohol surprisingly subdued for a drink that carries a warning that only two per visit are allowed.
The verdict: great job on atmosphere and service but you’d need to be on a beach in Bali to get a buzz from the cocktails.
Potato Head, 100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun. Tel: 2858 6066. Open: Tuesday to Sunday 10am-11pm