Bar review: High Line, Central – perfume-inspired cocktails for a ladies’ night out
Bar hidden behind a SoHo restaurant offers ‘softer’ cocktails based on the Penhaligon line of fragrances. Drinks are sweet, light on alcohol and leave a distinct aftertaste of perfume
The vibe: tucked away behind sister establishment Street Meat, High Line offers a unique concept – cocktails inspired by scents from the perfume brand Penhaligon. The decor is intimate and feminine, with panelled walls picked out in gilt like an 18th century boudoir, large mirrors and low stools designed to look like crystal perfume bottle stoppers. There’s also a cosy outdoor terrace at the back. Drinks are prettily served – one came in an Edwardian-style cut-glass powder bowl with a lid, another in an opaque glass candle holder; ice cubes have flowers frozen in them.
The drinks: the idea is to sniff the perfumes, then see which ones you’d like to try translated into cocktail form. Named after a celebrated 19th century tea clipper, the Lothair (vodka, grapefruit, Darjeeling tea and cardamom, HK$148) smelled enticing and had a complex taste with a nice tang of cardamom. The Indian Raj-inspired Vaara (vodka, honey, rosewater, HK$158) was light, sweet and intensely rose-flavoured.
The Bayolea (gin, mandarin, tangerine, lemongrass, HK$138) was nicely balanced with a pleasing bouquet of citrus flavours but, although based on a fragrance for men, it was just as feminine as the others. All the drinks were sweet, light on alcohol and left a distinct aftertaste of perfume in the mouth.
In addition to the Penhaligon range, the friendly bartender suggested we try one of his off-menu specials (HK$145) which had no name, but was an agreeably fruity concoction of whisky and freshly roasted pineapple. Other offerings include a selection of Japanese whiskies, and a list of signature cocktails named after celebrities.
The verdict: one for girlie girls rather than blokey blokes, High Line makes a cute venue for a ladies’ night out and the cocktails will suit anyone who enjoys highly perfumed flavours and doesn’t like their drinks too strong.
High Line, 50 Wyndham Street, Central. Tel: 2240 2686. Open: 6pm-1am (Friday and Saturday until 3am)