Bar review: IQ Bar, Lan Kwai Fong – a real find for the discerning drinker
With cocktails that are original and intelligent, smartly paired with the chef’s creative food, IQ Bar is something of a sophisticated oasis in the tumult of its Central neighbourhood
The vibe: IQ Bar feels like an oasis of relaxed sophistication compared to its neighbours on this stretch of Lan Kwai Fong. Service is friendly and the decor has a faintly retro feel – the narrow space has a long wooden bar and some attractive coloured lighting effects. Seating is barstools only – most with tables – and there are a few seats outside for smokers and people watchers.
The drinks: cocktails are genuinely original and intelligently put together. Barbarella (HK$141, rum infused with lime leaves, coconut rum, strawberry confiture, lemongrass, lime juice, Prosecco) came prettily decorated in silver lace (presumably a tribute to Jane Fonda’s less than feminist costumes in the classic camp film) and was sweet, delicate and heavy on the lemongrass (those who don’t like that particular taste should abstain, those who do will love it). The Goldman Rum Fashioned (HK$150, aged rum, special bitters, Golden Falernum liqueur) was nicely balanced, with the sweetness lifted by the bitters and the spiciness of the liqueur.
Spices galore with the Moscow Mule Spice Bazaar (HK$140, vodka infused with black pepper, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, ginger juice, lime juice, honey syrup, topped up with Belgian lambic beer) which lived up to its name with a complex, intriguing mix of exotic flavours, yet was clean and refreshing as good vodka should be, helped by the dryness of the lambic. The list of virgin cocktails looked equally intriguing but the one we tried, Ginger Classic (HK$50 in Happy Hour, ginger juice, lemon juice, honey syrup, fresh mint and soda water) was the only disappointment of the evening, over-diluted and lacking in zing.
The innovative approach continues with the smart idea of pairing the cocktails with chef Sasha’s equally creative food (the delicious – and exquisitely presented – vodka-cured salmon went perfectly with the Moscow Mule). Another smart move is offering some premium liquor options in Happy Hour instead of just the usual house spirits.
The verdict: a real find for discerning drinkers in search of something different – and if prices are on the high side, the drinks and food deliver on quality and presentation.
IQ Bar, 27-37 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong. Tel: 3565 6616 Open: Monday to Thursday noon-2.30am, Friday noon-3.30am, Saturday 4pm-3.30am, Sunday 4pm-2.30am
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