Bar review: Portico at Spiga in Central – classic cocktails in a standout location

Outdoor terrace bar attached to Spiga Italian restaurant in Queen’s Road Central has a great atmosphere, but too much ice in the drinks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 5:00pm

The vibe: Portico is the bar attached to Spiga, the Italian fine dining restaurant that’s taken over the space on Queen’s Road Central formerly occupied by Lupa. The outdoor terrace must be one of Central’s most desirable bar locations, with its striking view of the surrounding tall buildings.

The new incarnation is nicely designed, with a long bar at one side and a mixture of tables and chairs, low sofas and ’60s style basketwork hanging chairs making the most of the space. This is a high-end joint and service is smooth, if bland.

First impressions of Spiga, Central – high-quality Italian fine dining with plenty of promise

The drinks: no weird and whacky cocktails here , just a list of classics, premium spirits and wines. We tried a couple of barrel-aged cocktails. The Manhattan (HK$148) was stunning, rich, full and strong, with just a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. The barrel-aged Negroni (HK$128) would have been better if it hadn’t been filled with ice and left to stand until the ice had started to melt. Even with the ice fished out the drink was watery.

Ordering an Old Fashioned (HK$98), we asked for less ice but again, it arrived full of ice cubes. At least this time we were able to get rid of them before the drink got too diluted – incidentally showing that the serving was far from generous. The cocktail itself was correctly made and pleasant if not outstanding.

The verdict: the location alone will ensure Portico’s success – and the Manhattan proved they can produce a top-notch drink – but it’s not the perfect experience you’d expect from the high-end buzz around the place.

Portico at Spiga

3/F, LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road Central

Tel: 2871 0055

Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm