Hong Kong bar reviews

Bar review: Bitters and Sweets in Central – cocktails and desserts for ladies who lunch

The emphasis here is on infusions, resulting in some interesting layers of flavour and the odd confusing mixture

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2016, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2016, 2:26pm

The vibe: a calm haven tucked away above Wellington Street, Bitters and Sweets is cosy and inviting. The large room, with its comfortably upholstered seats and restaurant-type tables, feels more like a tea salon than a bar, an impression reinforced by the dessert snacks on offer (the “sweets” of the name). It’s aimed at ladies who lunch rather than blokes who booze, a fresh angle in the area’s overcrowded market.

The drinks: the bar’s tagline is “infuse to inspire” and the emphasis on unusual house infusions results in cocktails with intriguing offbeat culinary themes which will appeal to the adventurous (we chickened out of trying the beetroot one).

The Gin & Tea Tonic (HK$130, gin, oolong tea, rose and passion fruit) was light and delicate, with layers of different flavours that continued to develop as you work your way through the drink.

The Coriander (HK$140, tequila bianco, coriander, ginger and house salt rim) was strong and spicy with a good kick of ginger, although its bright green colour was the only sign of the coriander.

The Sesame (HK$140, spiced rum, hazelnut, roast black sesame) was sinfully rich and full-bodied, with echoes of Chinese desserts and gianduia, yet admirably well-balanced. The same couldn’t be said of the Horseradish (HK$160, gin, horseradish cream, lemon, honey and black pepper). The evening’s only dud, it tasted overwhelmingly of horseradish and combined with the honey and gin was horribly cloying.

The verdict: only open a few weeks, some fine-tuning is still needed, but Bitters and Sweets deserves a try – three out of our four drinks were excellent, it’s pleasantly laid back and staff are keen to make sure you enjoy your visit.

Bitters and Sweets, 1/F, 52-54 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2788 0103

Open: Monday to Saturday 5.30pm-2am