Tai Kwun, the new Central Police Station development, is, quite frankly, impressing us far more than we thought it could.
Going back several years, our excitement levels were high in advance of the grand unveiling of a different heritage revitalisation project – PMQ – in 2014. PMQ had appeared to offer a veritable food lover’s playground of everything from high-end restaurants and casual eateries to bakeries and sweet shops, despite F&B not being the focus of the venue. Unfortunately, the many ups and downs of the food sites there, highlighted by unreliable shop opening hours and frequent closures, have been confusing and problematic, preventing PMQ from becoming a frequent haunt of ours. This experience, combined with the long wait and problem-fraught developments of the revamped Central Police Station, had us severely managing our expectations for Tai Kwun. But we have been completely blown away by the entire development and our eating experiences there so far.
Our recent visit to The Dispensary, a dark and moody cocktail bar with a saloon-like appeal and gilded cage surrounding the bar itself, proved to be an atmospheric way to start the evening. The verandas overlook the picturesque plaza below, where live performances are planned to take place. Unusual cocktails are the name of the game here, containing interesting ingredients like the charcoal mixed in with the white rum, almond syrup and dry rose petals of the Brave Burlingham ($108) and the carrot juice with gin and rhubarb cordial in The Crown ($98). These tipples were surprisingly tasty encounters that made us feel like there was a wellness aspect to our drinking, taking away a bit of the imbibing guilt.
Statement is another of Aqua Restaurant Group’s eateries (in addition to The Chinese Library next door) and focuses on modern British cuisine. It’s helmed by Chef Arron Rhodes, previously of Gough’s on Gough – the winner of our Foodie Forks 2018 Best New Restaurant award. For those missing an upmarket “meat and two veg” kind of meal from their homeland, or those seeking a hearty yet stylish dining experience, Statement is going to be right up your street. We loved the set-up of the restaurant with its comfortable booths along the edges and elegantly plush yet simple interiors that let the beauty of the revamped building do most of the talking.
See for yourself – here’s a look at some of the dishes we tried:
Hokkaido scallops and smoked cabbage heart with Welsh laver-bread butter ($198)
Kettyle Farm lamb tartare with dandelion salad and heritage tomato chutney ($188)
Wicks Manor Farm pork loin, black pudding, butternut squash and quince jelly ($318)
Roasted whole cauliflower with olives and blackcurrant ($88)
Atlantic turbot, cauliflower purée and roasted almonds ($398)
Pan-fried spinach and pak choi with pine-nut granola and lemon ($68)
Baby new potatoes with red onion and rosemary ($68)
1/F, West Wing, Headquarters Block, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, 2848 3000, book online
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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