Bar review: Paper Moon in Tsim Sha Tsui – excellent happy hour should help you forget a few teething troubles
Paper Moon’s beautiful harbourfront setting is complemented by fresh, summery cocktails and a well-chosen range of high quality Italian wines, with a two-for-one happy hour offer that is hard to resist
The vibe: The far end of Ocean Terminal is being revamped as a restaurant hub. Among those taking advantage of the magnificent harbour view is a newly opened branch of Milan’s well-known Paper Moon restaurant chain, offering classic Italian food.
The place functions as a watering hole as well as an eating place and is equipped with a stunning terrace looking across to Hong Kong Island, perfect for pre-dinner drinks or a romantic nightcap.
The drinks: Pending an outdoor seating accommodation licence, you have to order your drinks at the bar then take them out to the terrace yourself (you also need to pay for them immediately – you get your bill with your drinks).
When we went the place was packed. Although the lone bartender was efficient and the manager was on hand to keep things moving, you may need some patience when waiting to be served until the additional licence comes through.
Signature cocktails and mocktails are all fresh, fruity and summery. While they might seem designed for customers who want to look sophisticated but don’t enjoy alcohol, they fit well enough with the alfresco concept. Most have an Italian twist and there’s a list of Italian classics such as Bellinis, Rossinis and Americanos, as well as the usual premium liquor choices.
The Cantaloupe Martini (HK$98, Absolut vodka, fresh cantaloupe melon juice, Sicilian lemon juice) was reasonably strong and while the drink was certainly sweet, the melon added an intriguing flavour.
The Mandarin Spritz (HK$98, Aperol, prosecco, fresh mandarin juice, soda) had a pleasantly complex flavour, with only the merest touch of alcohol. But both this and an otherwise-well-made Negroni (HK$98, Gordon’s gin, Campari, Martini Rosso) had too much ice – even though we’d asked for very little – and quickly became over-diluted. At least on the terrace you have the option of fishing out excess ice cubes and throwing them into the sea – not that a well-brought-up reviewer would ever do anything like that, of course.
Wine lovers are better served with a well-chosen range of high quality Italian wines by the glass. The list includes high-end sparkling Bellavista Franciacorta Alma Brut (HK$108) and Gaja Ca’Marcanda Promis (HK$108), which is a blend of merlot, syrah and sangiovese from the Tuscan estate of legendary winemaker Angelo Gaja.
Those in search of a cold one can sink a Peroni on draught (HK$78).
The verdict: Paper Moon has work to do if it’s going to live up to its superb location and international name, but it will be worth a visit once it gets over its teething troubles. Meanwhile, its happy hour offer (buy one, get one free) is excellent value.
Paper Moon, Shop OTE 301, Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2156 2256.
Open: 11.30am-2.30am (until 3.30am on Friday, Saturday and the eve of public holidays)
Happy hour: 3pm-7pm and 10.30pm-1.30am (until 2.30am on Friday and Saturday)
While you’re in the area:
Bar review: Zhang Men Craft Brewery, Tsim Sha Tsui – a worthy addition to Hong Kong’s growing list of craft beer houses