21A Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: 2111 0800
The vibe: this small side street is home to institutions such as Ned Kelly's Last Stand, Jimmy's Kitchen and Weinstube. More recent arrivals on the cul-de-sac include Mes Amis and Castro's. We stopped by just before Halloween, and it earned extra points for going all out with the decorations. The clientele seemed to be mostly French with a good balance of people enjoying either the bar facilities or the café menu. The small outdoor area at the back is ideal for smokers. The staff are friendly, but the waiting time between drinks varied considerably.
The drinks: stick to the wine - this is a wine bar after all. The selection by the bottle or glass means it should be easy to suit any taste and budget. Based on recommendations from our waitress, I tried a Sacred Hill Whitecliff Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (HK$68). It was fine for the price, but a bit bland with faint flavours of unripe fruit. A Gabriel Meffre Laurus Cotes du Rhone Villages AC 2007 (HK$64) was a bit harsh - the waitress warned it was slightly sour and it was very dry. With a more adventurous choice from a good value list, we could have been drinking better known labels from Australia, Chile and Germany. Unwisely, we ordered cocktails. The Ginger Honey Tini (HK$68) - rum, clover honey, ginger and orange juice - was the best of a bad bunch.
The verdict: a cosy neighbourhood feel. You have to love a place that lists cheeseburgers and ribs as light meals. Charley Lanyon