An Interview With Karlton Cheung, Bar Manager at Woo Cheong Tea House
What is the inspiration behind Woo Cheong Tea House bar?
Woo Cheong Tea House boasts a philosophy of “innovating with tradition” that duly celebrates Wan Chai’s status as a meeting point of old and new cultures. It allows guests to savour the flavours and aromas of our tea infused cocktails as they enjoy the restaurant’s expertly crafted dim sum and Cantonese fare in a relaxed environment.
How do you curate your cocktail menus?
It’s teamwork. I come up with the concept first, then share these with the team. Since we are all coming from different places and working environments we can have different visions and techniques for the development of a new menu. No menu succeeds without all the staff believing in its vision. I believe drinks are the reflection of our personality, from our experiences with cocktails, the food we have and how we implement them in our own drinks. Drinks must be simple in the execution and presentation but complex in flavour.
How have your combined experiences at previous bars supported your ventures at Woo Cheong Tea House?
I have more than 10 years of experience in the F&B industry and I am especially well versed in the use of different ingredients to create speciality cocktails that fuse together elements from the East and the West. I've met many people, worked in different types of bars ( Club, members club, cocktails bars etc) at all positions, and this has enabled me to understand each role within the whole team.
What are your top three cocktail recommendations for first-timers?
My top three recommendations would be:
Jasmine – this is good to start as an early drink. It's a variation of the daiquiri and we use verjus for the citrus. We blend two types of rums so it has more complexity and layers, uplifted by the freshness from the jasmine and verjus.
Chrysanthemum Negroni – this one is a variation of the classic one, we made a white version with Chrysanthemum tea and Sauvignon Blanc, perfect for a pre-dinner drink. It's essentially a floral and lighter version of the original Negroni.
Pu’Erh Fashioned – it's slightly savoury with a rich and earthy flavour from the Pu’er which tasted best after your meal or as a nightcap drink. This one has the right balance of bitterness and sweetness, complemented with the fragrance from Pu’er and salted tangerine peel. Its endnote features a kick of whisky and scotch.
What can we look forward to next?
Many things! We have new cocktails coming soon and also an upgrade to the bar snacks menu, so stayed tuned.