Does money make the world go round? Probably. Does that mean bars and restaurants have no option but to bleed customers dry? Certainly not, if it's got anything to do with Briton James Bradshaw, who, along with a group of friends, is "blowing a big raspberry to everything we hate" about the food and beverage industry.
Bradshaw and his cohorts are set to open Casa, a free-house tapas restaurant and bar in Sai Kung, this Saturday. And they've decided to do things a bit differently. The co-owners rejected generous offers of backing from beer giants Carlsberg and San Miguel in order to spare customers from what they consider to be overpriced, subpar grog, insisting Casa isn't about the money. Their aim, rather, is to serve the best food and drink possible at affordable prices.
"I don't know the specific motivation behind everyone starting up a restaurant or bar, but it seems like money, and that is so transparent to me," says Bradshaw.
Casa will specialise in quality craft beers and ciders ("We want everyone who enters our establishment to know that drinking isn't about getting drunk; it's about tantalising your senses, not dulling them"), while "a great bottle of wine will be priced so that you won't hesitate to order a second, if you want it".
As for the food, Bradshaw says: "We've seen tapas in Hong Kong and I don't think people really understand it. Tapas is about putting people at ease, it's about integration into a social environment. Tapas isn't a cuisine, it's a concept. It's fast, fun, simple food."
Bradshaw and Co will also dispense with service charges and discourage tipping: instead, they will pay staff 20 per cent above the industry standard and dish out bonuses based on profits. You might say they're putting their money where their mouths are.
Casa - Modern Tapas Bar is in the Siu Yat Building, Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung, tel: 8191 1940.