Celebrating the golden age of cocktails, Foxglove defines new vintage in Hong Kong with its 1950s-inspired interior and live jazz at the weekend. I discovered this speakeasy camouflaged as an umbrella shop three and a half years ago, and I’m still in awe of the intimate, sexy atmosphere it presents. I adore its plush blue booths and marble tables – a place to sit snugly with your boo or kick off your night out with friends.
The famous story behind globe-trotting English gentleman Mr Frank Minza continues, with his legacy upheld at Foxglove and presented through elegant cocktails. These new tipples are inspired by Frank’s travels and experiences and come with a good dose of nostalgia.
The dangerous, too-easy-to-sip Self-Portrait ($140) is just one of the few items reflecting this theme, and who knew self-reflection could be reimagined into a cocktail? In Frank’s world, the process is not dark and existential, but inviting, filled with sweet notes of Belvedere sous-vide peach and lemon ginger syrup and brightly coloured in mellow pink, using grapefruit cordial.
The lunch and dinner menus at Foxglove have changed from showcasing contemporary European cuisine to upscale Cantonese, with the service and food living up to an exceptional dining experience. Deep-fried crispy whitebait in salted egg yolk ($148) and salt-and-pepper chicken cartilage ($118) rolled out first and were simply comforting, while the spiced beef shank with Sichuan chili sauce ($138) was mildly spicy and tender.
I recommend ordering the strawberry-scented Cotton Club ($160) as an aperitif. The drink is inspired by Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club for jazz musicians. Fermented strawberry white vermouth is mixed with lime sweetener, orange bitters and champagne. The fruity aroma contrasts with the drink’s punchy and acidic flavours.
Standout dishes include the braised morel and winter melon broth ($148/ person) and steamed spotted grouper fillet, prawn and scallop in prawn sauce ($288/person).
Double-boiled, the clear broth was delicate and unforgettable, despite being a little too hot for my tongue. A lot of effort has been put into the presentation, especially seeing the melon crafted to imitate a floating tea flower in the clear glass bowl, illustrating the fine-dining aspect that Foxglove offers.
The grouper, prawn and scallop dish is the epitome of luxury Cantonese dining. Hearty seafood is netted over crunchy bamboo fungus and surrounded by bright orange sweet, creamy prawn sauce and decorated with spots of caviar. It’s all about the details here.
The last few plates served were classic Cantonese dishes and could be a family-style meal on their own.
Savoury stir-fried Alaskan king crab and egg with vegetarian shark fin rice ($298) paired well with the sweet and slightly tart aged vinegar glazed pork belly ($208).
Kale in superior broth ($168) is a great way to get some greens into your meal.
For a treat-yourself dish, I recommend the Sichuan-spiced fried chicken ($280), which is tame enough for all palates to try.
Skip the desserts and your typical digestifs and finish the night with the Above Board ($160) or the Old- Fashioned Cinema ($160). The Above Board is influenced by Frank’s love for coffee, which he paired with kaya toast on rainy days. Comforting and nostalgic, this cocktail reminds me of my travels to Singapore. Coconut pandan foam sits on top of the coffee-based cocktail, which consists of Hennessy VSOP, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, Kahlúa and sweetener. Now this will be my new alternative to the espresso martini I usually order!
For something a bit richer but just as nostalgic, the Old-Fashioned Cinema is recommended. Growing up, Frank’s most formative moments were spent watching Westerns with a bowl of popcorn in hand. These fond memories have been used to create a playful drink. Bourbon-infused popcorn is mixed with ghee-fat-washed rye, with demerara cinnamon syrup, angostura and chocolate bitters adding to the unique flavours of the cocktail.
The dining experience at Foxglove is unforgettable. Versus other luxurious, upscale Cantonese restaurants, Foxglove might be underestimated by the crowds, but it should be recognised as a gem in Hong Kong’s F&B scene. The intimate speakeasy continues to uphold Frank Minza’s legendary legacy, and the attention to detail stems from his philosophies and speaks to guests through the delicious signature cocktails and dishes on offer.
18 Ice House Street/6 Duddell Street, Central, 2116 8949, firstname.lastname@example.org
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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