Madam Sixty Ate
Shop 8, 1/F, The Podium, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai (entrance on Ship Street)
Tel: 2527 2558
The vibe: an untypically light and airy first-floor bar and restaurant with floor-to-ceiling glass walls on two sides; unvarnished oak floors; walls in black, white and palest green; a terrace protected by giant umbrellas and a fashionably open kitchen. The decorations are discreet, modern and, occasionally, quietly humorous (a large painting of three baby rabbits in a giant peapod). The place is pitched at the ladies-who-lunch set and their banker friends, with prices to match. If you don't want to dine in the well-regarded restaurant, the bar area is an excellent venue for a quiet tête-à-tête, and the bar snacks, while delicious, won't have you rushing to the gym to work off excess pounds.
The drinks: a couple of years ago, the best you could expect at most bars was Corona and Carlsberg, but, like many upmarket Hong Kong eateries, Madam Sixty Ate is now distinguishing itself from the hoi polloi with a small but excellent range of craft beers: Little Creatures from Australia, Angry Boy from Baird's Brewery in Japan and Acme IPA and PranQster from the American west coast, all at HK$70 to HK$75 a bottle. There is also Pipsqueak Cider from Australia. The cocktails are eclectic and varied, from the traditional to the wacky, including the celery gimlet (gin, celery, Lillet Blanc, celery bitters and lime, HK$95), the East Indian cobbler (sherry, maraschino liqueur, grapes and citrus, HK$110) and the breakfast martini (gin, Cointreau, orange marmalade and lemon, HK$95). Wines, including Chianti, cabernet sauvignon from Chile, sauvignon blanc from New Zealand and chardonnay from Australia, are between HK$95 and HK$135 a glass.
The verdict: excellent for an afternoon with an old friend. The bar snacks - "Madam's grazing foods," - come beautifully presented on a plank of wood the size and shape of an A5 notebook. They cost HK$85 a time and include cherries stuffed with foie gras and octopus carpaccio.