Ladies, are you tired of searching for a decent spot to enjoy some high-quality cocktails with your gal pals? Look no further.
Rosewood Hong Kong houses the city’s first ladies-only speakeasy – neatly named XX – a long-awaited twist on the traditional gentlemen’s clubs. The second bar at Rosewood, XX opened its doors in October, following the March launch of its sister bar, DarkSide, which offers rare aged spirits, cocktails and live jazz.
To add to the exclusivity of the concept, the bar is accessed via a discreet door in the hotel, using a daily-changing code tapped in on what resembles an opulent jewellery box. Upon reservation confirmation, you will receive the special access code, allowing those with XX chromosomes amongst us to enter.
The sense of uniqueness and attention to detail doesn’t stop at the password-protected entry. Several elements are very well thought out, from the plush velvet chairs and slippers on entry to the sweets and iconic fashion books dotted on the tables.
Mirroring the female theme that is weaved throughout the space, the cocktail menu has been carefully curated. It focuses on soft feminine flavours via subtle yet refreshing botanical notes, each drink paired with a whisky, rum or champagne base. The cocktails are delicate and effortlessly easy to drink.
The evening opened with the BFF ($130), consisting of pine needle, cucumber, yuzu vinegar and FAIR vodka. It was light yet burst with flavour – perhaps a little too heavy on the cucumber side, but I did enjoy the pine needle taste, which came through at the end.
Ordering a champagne-based cocktail seemed only right at XX. Creeper ($160) features rose, rhubarb, champers and Aperol. I liked the creativity of adding pretty rhubarb flakes around the outside of the glass, which matches the delicacy of the rhubarb flavour flowing throughout the tipple. Whilst pleasant to drink, the Aperol punch that the bartender had promised was unfortunately absent.
Next up was Stallion ($130), made with coconut butter, pandan, lychee and Koko Kanu rum. The secret to the fragrant pandan-coconut taste that filled the glass? Several days’ worth of pandan and coconut butter infusion.
For the foodies amongst us, fear not – the snacks wonderfully complement the smooth cocktails.
These are my favourites:
The mini lobster rolls ($120) are majestically garnished with gold leaf. This is a generously sized snack showcasing well-seasoned lobster, its natural sweetness countered by pickles.
The red prawn tartare ($120) was the star snack. The prawn was skilfully seasoned, with the perfect balance of citrus bitterness from the kaffir lime as well as a hint of chilli. It sat atop crisp bread and was generously topped with caviar. Needless to say, we ordered seconds!
Following closely behind the red prawn tartare and lobster rolls was the golden brioche ($80). The brioche was surprisingly fluffy and airy despite its crisp-looking exterior, giving us a surprise of oozing crème fraiche inside.
Seeing s’mores on the menu took us on a trip down memory lane. The s’mores at XX certainly take it up a notch from camping to glamping. These s’mores ($70) were delightful! The ice-cream sammies ($60) were interesting too. I loved the crunch of the biscuits and the choice of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice-cream flavours, but these were not the easiest to eat delicately.
XX is a sanctuary on Victoria Dockside, a great escape from the familiarity and pressure-cooker life of HK Island. This bar goes above and beyond to offer a laid-back and cosy vibe whilst remaining elegant and grown-up. It’s perfect for an intimate group of female friends gathered around the inside seating areas, the snazzy centrepiece bar or on the rainbow-lit harbour-view terrace. XX is a precious bar, without the pretentious vibe or price tag! Open Tuesday–Saturday from 6pm.
5/F, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 5239 9219 (booking required)
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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