It’s Friday night and you’re seriously in the mood to unwind after a stressful week at work. There’s nothing like curing that daily grind with an elaborate (and let’s admit it, strong) cocktail, and it’s the perfect time to check out the hottest bars in town. And what is the coolest bar at the moment? Well, that would be The Woods.
The Woods is conveniently located on Hollywood, right next to Paisanos (although it could not be more of a contrast to its neighbour). It’s already evident as you’re walking down the staircase into this underground bar that a lot of care and attention has been paid to the design of the place. The theme of (you guessed it!) the woods is scattered subtly throughout, and the attention to detail goes right down to the design of the barstools (take a look at how their logo has been used in the seat).
The founders are three sisters, each of who is responsible for different aspects of the business. One has focused on the design, one takes care of the finances and one takes care of the daily happenings. We had the pleasure of meeting Victoria, the brains behind The Woods, who was not only completely welcoming, but also clearly passionate about her new business. We were invited to try the four-course prix-fixe menu, which includes four cocktails that are accompanied with some food. The attention to detail with the sleek interior is equally reflected in the drinks, which have been carefully thought out and constructed.
The first drink we tried exemplifies this, as it actually consists of a beautifully hollowed out, sphere-shaped ice cube. You heard that right! The Basil Smash combines the fresh taste of Thai basil with gin and is presented in this unique ice structure… it really is incredible!
The time it takes to create these ice-spheres and chisel them out really is impressive, and I loved how they’d made it so interactive with the mini hammer!
It’s such good fun smashing apart the ice cube to reach the refreshing drink inside, and it went perfectly with the bites of watermelon, feta and mint that we were served alongside.
Next up was the ‘main course’. The Bacon Bourbon Luge was extremely unique… it really did taste like bacon! I liked the slightly smoky and spicy flavour to this drink that would be perfect in winter. It was a very rich and filling cocktail that again matched the food perfectly. The roasted bone marrow melted in the mouth, and if you really want to get into the spirit of things, use the finished, hollowed out bone as a luge to finish off the rest of your drink! Bottoms up!
The ‘dessert’ consisted of one of the most theatrical cocktails I’ve ever had, teamed with an unusually flavoured meringue. The Absinthe Floss is presented with a giant cloud of candy floss on top, which you then poor your drink over. The candy floss magically dissolves and you’re left with a sweet but sour, aniseed like flavour. This creamy, milky drink was definitely a unique way to serve absinthe, and although I’m not sure how much I enjoyed the actually flavour, the dreamy presentation almost makes up for it. Unfortunately I found the meringue with cucumber jam a little strange too, but I definitely commend them on their creativity!
Last but not least was the ‘digestif’ Tea Infusion. This was another delight to watch, as they presented each of us with an incredible double chamber infusion siphon, which reminded me of being back in Chemistry class at school! Watching the Asian ingredients infuse into the Tanqueray Gin was so interesting, and the end result was a divine, warm alcoholic tea. The perfect fragrant end to a lovely evening!
Overall, I really enjoyed the theatre of The Woods’s prix-fixe menu, especially as you’re in such an inspiring, sophisticated environment that’s elegantly influenced by the beauty of nature. The aesthetics at The Woods are spot on, and you can tell that the staff really care about what they’re doing… they’re trying new techniques and flavours and even if some of them don’t quite work, I admire their creativity.
I wouldn’t try the prix-fixe menu as dinner, as the food is more an accompaniment to the drinks and consists of small bites rather than substantial meals. It’s certainly fun though and would definitely make for an interesting night with the girls! Four cocktails down and you’d be almost struggling to get out the door… and if that all seems like a bit too much, why not try one of their seasonal cocktails like The Caprese? Or try their signature Four Pepper Margherita! All cocktails are a little pricey at $120 and up, but you can see why with the quality of the seasonal ingredients and the elaborate techniques… time to splash out!
The Woods, L/G, 17 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2522 0281, www.facebook.com/thewoodshk