Cocktail time matches food dishes too!

Updated: 2015-03-13 06:24

By Maggie Beale for China Daily(HK Edition)

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The venue is most elegant, very comfortable with lounge chairs and hefty but cushioned bar chairs (not stools). The Lighter Bites menu is outstanding and the cocktails are dazzling at the Artesian Bar in the Palm Court of The Langham on Peking Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Evoking the memorable Art Deco style that never goes out of fashion, the stylish color scheme is both welcoming and relaxing and adds to the overall unhurried atmosphere of graceful good living.

Artesian is a direct take-off of its namesake award-winning venue in London where the inimitable "afternoon tea" concept became a fixture of landed gentry stylish living when it was first served there 150 years ago. As expected, the lounge area serves sweet things including ice creams. And the Artesian specializes in innovative drinks and in small bites for sharing to pair with cocktails, wines and spirits, including beer, sherry, port wines and grappa.

Having spent several hours testing and evaluating a large range of grappa, the Italian grape-based pomace brandy, as spirits judge at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2013, I find both the Gaja de Barbaresco and Gaja di Barolo to be most representative of this Italian speciality.

At the Artesian, their award-winning bartender has created a comprehensive range of cocktail creations to match and enhance the foods on offer.

Apart from the all-time ladies' sparkling favorite Pink Bellini and almost forgotten classics such as the Old Fashioned and The Last Word, the range of new cocktails is both innovative and delightful. For example, the Chelsea Flower Show Cocktail is a blend that includes Fino sherry, Lillet Blanc, and elderflower liqueur. And a Johnnie Walker Scotch based cocktail called the Morning Glory Fizz will probably add more than a little joy to the day!

It's not for me to advise but for the sake of health and reputation - do remember to drink in moderation!

For non-alcoholic drinkers, there are the usual ranges of juices (HK$65), tonic waters and sodas (HK$55-65) plus still or sparkling mineral waters from Norway and Sweden at HK$48 for 330ml.

The menu offers a range of food platters big enough for two or three persons, such as the "Rib Tickling" slow roasted US pork ribs on a BBQ marinade, with coriander and spring onions for HK$88, and Salt n' Pepper Squid at HK$78, and the Posh Chips at HK$68 have up-market additions of truffle oil and parmesan.

And, big luscious Fine de Clair oysters go for HK$218 for six or HK$48 each.

The platter selections offer well thought-out combinations. Including a Seafood extravaganza with oysters, king prawns, mussels, and smoked salmon with appropriate sauces, and other seafood specialities according to market highlights for HK$388.

Or there's a range of cheeses from the British Isles served with walnuts, a delicious stone-baked bread, and one of Spain's outstanding contributions to gastronomy - quince paste. It's a bargain at HK$188.

Of course in this town, there's always a meaty answer for carnivores; at HK$ 248 the Charcuterie platter has Jamon Iberico, pork and walnut salami, as well as Foie Gras pate, all enhanced by Balsamic pickled onions and walnut stone baked bread.

Just a few days ago six of us shared three of these platters in the early evening after work - none of us left hungry and we thoroughly enjoyed every bite!

Cocktail time matches food dishes too!

(HK Edition 03/13/2015 page7)