From farm to table comes farm to glass at Tell Camellia.
Partnering with AuLaw Organic Farm in Kam Tin, bar co-founder Gagan Gurung and his team use seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs to highlight the variety of produce available in our own city, headed on a path towards food sustainability. The drinks are fresh and distinctive, with distillation, sous vide and dehydration amongst the techniques used to maintain the robust flavours of the produce.
Tell Camellia interior
Left to right: The Bitter Tweet; Matcha Milk Punch
Matcha Milk Punch (HK$120) spotlights young green tea and uses an oyster distillate along with melon, matcha, coconut and rum. The earthy matcha brings out the delicate flavour of the toasted coconut in this tropical drink, with coconut also used in the froth to set everything.
The Bitter Tweet (HK$120) is spirit forward and accentuates the creamy texture and buttery flavour of milk oolong tea sourced from Taiwan. When the leaves are between the stages of green and black during the oxidisation phase, the flavours are then extracted. Citrusy marigold leaf and petal from AuLaw are shaken with bitter amaro, whisky and Fernet Hunter.
Left to right: Darjeeling Sour; Far East Paloma
Darjeeling Sour and Far East Paloma (both HK$130) have opposite flavour profiles – one is bright, floral and fruity, while the other is sharp, savoury and earthy. Darjeeling is the champagne of teas, known for its delicate aromas of ripe fruits and muscatel; it gives an amber colour to the drink. Basil from AuLaw is used along with green apple and gin in this tipple that is super fruity on the palate but not excessively sweet.
Far East Paloma is made with jasmine and pu’er teas. An intense roasted pepper flavour takes over the palate upon first sip, with tequila and grapefruit imparting a slight bitterness at the end. We feel this drink could use a bit more fizz.
Left to right: Lapsang Negroni; Teas Knees
Teas Knees (HK$130) is one of my go-tos at Tell Camellia. A twist on the classic Bees Knees cocktail, this time containing chamomile tea, this gin-based drink is smooth and enhanced by the sweetness of honey, with lemon making it a beautiful pastel colour.
The Lapsang Negroni (HK$130) spotlights both lapsang souchong tea and AuLaw’s famed shiso, alongside Campari and gin. This smooth drink has a smoky aroma, finishing with a clean aftertaste. The warm, mint-like flavour of the shiso counterbalances the bitter Campari.
As a tea lover, the transition of farm to table into a cocktail isn’t something I’ve seen before in Hong Kong. Tell Camellia does a great job in highlighting the fruits, vegetables and herbs found in our very own kitchens as well as locally grown produce that is commonly found across Asia but that isn’t necessarily accessible to the average consumer. I love the fresh and earthy flavour profiles of the new cocktails on the menu.
Where: LG/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street (entrance via the alley at 48 Cochrane Street), Central
To contact: phone/WhatsApp 5686 8979 (no bookings)
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.