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Chachawan burst into the HK bar scene late last year and has become a go-to watering hole as important to Hong Kongers as the Nile has been to Northern Africa; perhaps even a little more dear. Featured in Foodie’s Best Places for Daytime Dining in Sheung Wan, Where to go for a Cool Down Treat, Favourite Sheung Wan Eatery and Outstanding Reliable Favourites in the Foodie Forks Awards this year, it’s famed the island ’round.
Head mixologist Tunny hails from Papua New Guinea but has had stints all around the world, including Drake & Morgan in London, and most recently of Mr. Wong (the only two-chef hatted Chinese cuisine in Australia) in Sydney. He has masterfully slung a new menu of Isaan-inspired flavours perfectly persuaded by classy cocktail traditions to see the Hong Kong summer out. Take the Papaya Sling; Chachawan has modified the Singaporean classic, birthed in the white wooden charm of Raffles hotel that we have all sampled every trip to Singapore, by using freshly muddled papaya infused with coriander and chilli, Thai lime and a dash of Aperol. It’s a spicy, fruity, zesty delight that fruitarians will do backflips for.
The Thai Fashioned tastes so much better than a regular Old Fashioned or even a Manhattan in our humble opinion; the flambéed citrus peel gives a depth of flavour that surfaces cocoa and orange undertones in the drink, brought about due to the infusion of the Thai tea and Mehkong, and house infused Punt e Mes (lemongrass, kafir lime lead and coriander) topped with toasted rice and sesame. Another noteworthy addition is the ChaPolitan, as the name suggests, it's a clever spin on a Cosmo, incorporating hand-picked pomegranate, calamansi, and finished with a heavenly salted mandarin and and oolong tea foam. We’re hoping the afterlife involves a lot of bouncing about on clouds of the stuff…
The show stopper, though, has to be the Adult Thai Colada Float, which is a whole young coconut, emptied of its juices and muddled of its flesh (poor thing never saw it coming), then refilled with coconut milk, fresh pineapple juice, dark and coconut rum and a little of the aforementioned fresh young coconut juice, and topped with house made coconut ice cream and toasted rice. It’s absolutely to die for and the large straws they serve it with sealed the fate of our large green fruity treat; we demolished it in about ninety seconds.
The new cocktails at Chachawan are innovative and very clever, paying homage to the Isaan culture and flavours while injecting flare of modern international mixology. It retains none of the pretentiousness of many of its larger competitors, but is complex and compelling in its palate. And so fresh! So fresh indeed, that if you see Tunny ask for a ‘special of the day’. Or my personal favourite, a Kafir lime leaf & coconut ‘Splice’. But it isn’t on the menu, and you didn’t hear about it from us….
206 Hollywood Road Hong Kong
1200 – 1430 & 1730 – 2300, 1730 bar opens, 1830 kitchen opens