Hong Kong bar reviews

Bar review: Lilya Moroccan Lounge and Bar in Central – enjoy elegant cocktails in style

Spicy, beautifully presented cocktails served up in authentic-looking surroundings make for an Arabian night to remember

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 June, 2017, 5:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 June, 2017, 5:18pm

The vibe: Lilya offers a stylish modern take on Moroccan culture. Coming out of the lift feels like stepping into a scene from the Arabian Nights as you find yourself in a vestibule decked out with colourful traditional shoes and stained glass lanterns. Inside, classic references – low tables with sofa and pouffe seating, wooden latticework – are given a contemporary twist, just like the contemporary Maghrebi pop music played by the DJ. Service is warm and welcoming (if you want to practise your French or Arabic, this is your chance) and late in the evening when the music goes up and the lights go down, it’s a fun place to party.

The drinks: the list is divided into Moroccan Signature and Asian Creation cocktails and, as you’d expect, contain a lot of perfumed and spicy ingredients. The Ali Baba (HK$130, house-infused Jack Daniel’s popcorn caramelised with house-made peach mix) was essentially a peach Old Fashioned with a lovely rich, creamy texture. The Ultimate (HK$120, blended mix rum, Cointreau, Maraschino Luxardo, pineapple, passion fruit, almond milk) was equally delicious, with delicate, complex flavours and the garnish of half a passion fruit – sensibly served with a tiny wooden spoon so you could actually enjoy it. Both drinks were smooth, subtly potent and avoided being overly sweet.

The Majorelle (HK$125, Napue gin, cardamom syrup, basil, fresh apple juice, citrus) was exquisitely served – it’s worth ordering just for the Instagram moment – but while agreeably refreshing, it tasted more like a mocktail.

The Lilya Dream (HK$130, Ron Zacapa 23 years, lemongrass, turmeric, apple juice, date, ginger) was the least successful of our choices, with a bitter, herbal taste reminiscent of Chinese medicine – the sort of thing you drink because you think it might be good for you rather than for pleasure.

Newly opened: Lilya Moroccan Lounge and Bar brings exotic taste of Marrakesh to Central

The verdict: a refreshingly original concept and genuine charm. Lilya is well worth a visit, especially for those who appreciate the subtle, complex flavours of Moroccan cuisine.

Lilya Moroccan Lounge and Bar, 2/F Carfield Commercial Building, 77 Wyndham Street, Central.

Tel: 2526 2578. Open: 6pm until late

While you’re in the area:

Bar review: Tsuru in Central – artisanal cocktails and great service in a laid-back atmosphere

Bar review: Wahtiki Island Lounge in Central - authentic taste of the South Pacific

Bar review: Halcyon in Central – cute sounding sweet cocktails in a huge space that’s good for a party