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High-key libatory and culinary delights

China Daily Asia | Updated: 2018-11-15 10:35
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The Dispensary Interior - Lounge bar which sits between the British and Chinese restaurants. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Get thee to Tai Kwun's newly opened The Dispensary for high-key libatory and culinary delights in a cinematic setting.

For recreational sophisticates there is simply no better place to venture than newly opened The Dispensary at Tai Kwun, which forms part of a trilogy of venues by the Aqua Restaurant Group. Aesthetically, The Dispensary is poised, moody and Instagrammatical. It feels tantalising, sensuous and elegant, with both literary and cinematic persuasion. Everything is formal and mannered, with the grace and precision of a well-behaved novel or script, the bar seeming much like a set for a contemporary glossy magazine fashion shoot or a 15th-century Flemish masterpiece in the style of Van Eyck. If it were a film director, it'd be Peter Greenaway somewhere between The Draughtsman's Contract and Belly of an Architect.

The Dispensary - Interiors - Shield inscribed with historical tales. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Historically, The Dispensary sits on the site of the former Officer's Mess at the beautifully transformed colonial Central Police Headquarters. Its offerings comprise an extensive list of wines, spirits and cocktails that complement its neighbouring counterparts, British culinary hotspot Statement and colonial-chic Chinese eatery The Chinese Library. Like the two restaurants, the drinks mirror the bi-national aspects of Hong Kong's heritage, even incorporating the storytelling snap of the police who made Tai Kwun – or Old Bailey, as it was called then – their home. For the men amongst the boys, try the Brave Burlingham, a heady concoction of charcoal-infused rum (note the striking black silhouette), served on hand-chiselled ice, decorated with crushed dry rose petals, and mixed with sugar, Luxardo Maraschino, grapefruit juice and fresh lime. Burlingham, a policeman, was said to have killed a tiger in the New Territories after having seen it maul local villagers and two of his colleagues – now there's paws for thought.

The Dispensary - British Collection - 1997 Punch [Photo provided to China Daily]

Notable, too, are the bar snacks. Fishcakes, wagyu beef balls, oysters, dim sum and pork crackling with apple sauce all go down an absolute stormer. Conclude your extended liquefaction with the ultimate culinary dispensement: the cheese platter. With biscuits, bread and jammy accompaniment of noble order, it'll raise the eyebrows of even the most hardened turophiles. Esculence with excellence means you'll need re-dispensing time and time again. Charge!

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