Bar review: Blue Butcher
108 Hollywood Road, Central. Tel: 2613 9286
The vibe: Hong Kong celebrities and expat bankers mingle in a dark, semi-industrial mixture of tiles, marble and wood dotted with occasional antique-shop finds, drinking an eclectic line-up of cocktails from master Nepalese mixologist Suraj Gurung. The downstairs bar is tiny, relieved slightly by a patio area. The upper-floor restaurant has the kitchen on view and a glass-walled meat store, where you can ask for your own virgin female Japanese beef steak to be aged for an extra six weeks until it, and you, are ready. The seats at the bar by the kitchen, where you can have a one-on-one with the chef, are the most in demand, or you can pay HK$10,000 for one of two private VIP dining areas, which seat up to eight people.
The drinks: Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder, so they say - or was that absence? Anyway, order the house special Blue Fairy cocktail - it's HK$695 for four to six people and is made with absinthe, London dry gin, blue curacao, Lillet Blanc, and lemon juice, served from an antique French glass spirits fountain supported by a silver fairy. Other cocktails, all from HK$110 to HK$125, include the Pig's Blood Martini, a mix of vodka, beet juice and orange, and the Pork Chop and Apple Sauce, made with bacon-washed Scotch, apple schnapps and apple jam. Draught beers are from the American craft brewery Rogue, while bottled beers are mostly American micros. The only lager is Coney Island's Rye Pilsner.
The verdict: Blue Butcher specialises in beef that's dry-aged in-house. Sunday brunch is from noon to 3pm, and costs HK$390 per person (add HK$180 for free-flow Prosecco, or HK$280 for Veuve Cliquot), including a cold buffet, a foie gras station and main courses, such as poached eggs and ham, Wagyu beef burgers, and dessert.