Bar review: Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour, Central – discover the hidden delights of this original concept
With a warm atmosphere, excellent service, top-notch drinks – including 250 types of gin – and a great location, this is just what the doctor ordered
The vibe: Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour, like its older sibling, Foxglove, is also a “hidden bar” – as you go down the steps to the MTR entrance inside The Landmark, you’ll see two doors on the right, one marked Waiting Room (which doesn’t open), the other marked Consulting Room (which does). The concept is that the place belongs to Dr Fern, an expert in botanicals who prescribes gin for “stress-related ailments” – staff wear white coats and on entering, you’re asked if you have an appointment. The concept is original, amusing and neatly executed.
The space is snug and intimate with comfortable, old-fashioned chairs, fern-patterned wallpaper and jars of dried botanicals. Service is friendly and attentive.
The drinks: the bar boasts 250 different gins – supposedly the biggest range in Hong Kong. Still in soft opening mode, signature cocktails have yet to be finalised. However, a selection of special G&Ts is already listed, stylishly served in tall, narrow glasses with single long blocks of ice. The Floraison (HK$135, G’Vine gin with Fentiman’s Tonic, garnished with grapes) was elegant and refreshing, with the grapes adding a subtle note.
With so many gins available, Martinis were an obvious choice. Served in stunning crystal glasses and made exactly as ordered, they proved that the team behind the bar know what they’re doing. A dry Martini with Ford’s gin and olives (HK$108) was simple, classic and got better as it went along. An extra-dry Martini with The Botanist gin and lemon peel (HK$155) was nothing short of sublime – intense yet delicate, with the floral bouquet of the Islay gin enhanced by the lemon.
Another great gin cocktail, the Negroni (HK$140), made on the bartender’s recommendation with Napue gin from Finland, was equally superb and beautifully balanced.
If gin is not your tipple, a selection of other drinks are available and the bar is open in the afternoons, when it serves coffee, salads and sandwiches.
The verdict: just what the doctor ordered. With a warm atmosphere, excellent service and top-notch drinks in a great location, Dr Fern’s makes a fantastic showcase for the variety, complexity and subtlety of premium gin.
Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour
Shop B31A, First Basement, The Landmark Atrium, Central, tel: 2111 9449. Open: 2pm-1am (Friday and Saturday until 2am)