Opening its doors two months ago, The Murray is the latest and greatest Hong Kong hotel, heritage hotel management company Wharf Hotels’ flagship Niccolo property. This high-profle preservation project has been years in the making, designed sustainably by renowned British architects Foster + Partners.
So far in the soft-opening stage, once fully up and running there will be five restaurants and bars at the hotel: lobby-level bar Murray Lane, standalone contemporary Michelin-starred Cantonese eatery Guo Fu Lou, garden-level, chic all-day diner Garden Lounge, rooftop bar and restaurant Popinjays and modern European restaurant The Tai Pan, also at garden level.
Read more about The Murray’s Cantonese restaurant, Guo Fu Lou: The Murray Unveils its First Restaurant
For now, only Garden Lounge and Murray Lane are open to the public, and reservations must be made in advance at Garden Lounge until the menus and service are fine-tuned. We got a special preview of both outlets, starting with an impeccable afternoon tea set ($295/person) at Garden Lounge.
Overseen by Executive Chef Fabrice Lasnon, whose 30-year global career includes stints at La Mamounia in Marrakech and Palazzo Versace Dubai, the afternoon tea was a delight from start to finish. Highlights included the osmanthus-, orange- and cinnamon-infused Golden Garden iced tea whipped up by the in-house tea sommelier, the robustly fragrant yuenyeung made with cold-brew Illy coffee and Earl Grey JING Tea, the colourful finger sandwiches crafted using veggie-flavoured bread and the textbook-perfect scones. We were also impressed that our vegetarian dining companion was presented with her own selection of savouries and sweets.
Murray Lane opens from 5pm. Its dark, glitzy (and relatively small) interior space belies the extensive cocktail menu, with two collections – The Tape ($130 each) and The Cassia ($120 each) – created by jovial Filipino mixologist Kervin Unido, formerly the head bartender at Mr & Mrs Fox. We sampled a selection of tipples from both collections. The Tape cocktails, a tribute to Wall Street with cheeky names like Gentlemen Prefer Bonds and Opening Bell, are richer and more complex, made with dark spirits, while those from The Cassia are lighter, floral and delicate with flavours inspired by the hotel’s listed heritage tree (which even receives monthly visits from a tree doctor!).
For the abstainers amongst us, we were pleased to see that Kervin has also devised an appealing collection of mocktails ($95 each). Oftentimes we find “virgin” cocktails off-balance – simply removing the alcohol does not a mocktail make – but these look to be carefully created using a range of fruity, spicy and floral non-alcoholic flavours.
22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, 3141 8888
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