Soaring high up amidst the clouds, Sugar is located on the 32nd floor of the luxurious EAST Hong Kong hotel in Tai Koo. Featuring a “bar + deck + lounge” concept, the stylish venue showcases stunning views of the harbour, which, although may not be a new thing in the glamorous city, its spectacular views still continue to amaze its onlookers.
Sugar recently launched its ‘Flavours of Hong Kong’ cocktail menu, bringing together the collective memories of the city’s unique food and drink culture in a historic location. We visited the well-loved bar and restaurant to try the new cocktail menu, paired with a few snacks. Here’s what she thought…
Image courtesy of EAST Hong Kong
A hidden gem
Walking through the unassuming streets of residential (and business district) Tai Koo, the last thing you’d expect to spot is a luxurious hotel with its own charming rooftop bar and lounge. Located within Swire Hotels’ sleek EAST Hong Kong Hotel, Sugar is perched on the 32nd floor of the sky-high establishment. The stylish hotel is celebrating its 10th year anniversary of enticing Hong Kongers with its breath-taking views—and it’s just launched its new menu to reign in cocktail lovers from all over.
Arriving at the recently-renovated lobby of the hotel, I followed the directions of the friendly staff up to Sugar. I walked through the elegant French doors and out onto the expansive terrace, beckoned by the post-work happy hour buzz and moody lighting complemented by soulful deep house music from the resident DJ.
Sugar’s unique cocktail menu is inspired by the flavours of Hong Kong and its diverse cultures and customs that make up this weird and wonderful city. With its rich history and heritage, Hong Kong has evolved from being a cluster of fishing villages not too long ago, to an international business hub—yet it stays true to its traditional roots. The menu is thus inspired by the merge of cultures—Eastern and Western—and blends the taste of local delicacies with foreign flavours. There are currently 10 sophisticated cocktails to choose from (which include Daan Tat and Milk Rabbit, to perk your interest)—I tried four from the list, with a few select tapas to share.
Haam Yu Cocktail | Image courtesy of Sugar, EAST Hong Kong
As a fervent lover of the humble mojito (also know as, the vanilla ice cream of the cocktail world), I was initially a little nervous to step out of my comfort zone. My fears were soon alleviated when we were presented with four delicate cocktails. Each cocktail had its own intriguing backstory, which made the experience even more memorable.
First, I tried the ‘Haam Yu’, a delightful cocktail exuding a delicious sense of nostalgia. Reminiscent of dried fruit and seafood markets ubiquitous to Hong Kong (worry not, no trace of seafood in this cocktail), the cocktail was presented in a wooden box with a message in a bottle—a Chinese symbol for wish making. Poured over ice and sprinkled with plum dust, the drink was a balanced, fruity cocktail that can delight even the most discerning cocktail drinker.
Jaa Sei Mei | Image courtesy of Sugar, EAST Hong Kong
Jaa Sei Mei is a tequila-based drink and was the dark horse of my cocktail experience. Served in a chinoiserie teacup and topped with dried goji berries, this fuchsia-coloured cocktail was inspired by the traditional tea shops of a bygone era. One sip of this concoction and my tumultuous relationship with tequila was restored. Better still, it comes with medicinal benefits found in the 24 herbs and spices—it’s no wonder that this drink is their best seller.
Yuen Yeung | Image courtesy of Sugar, EAST Hong Kong
Caffeine lovers need to look no further than the ‘Yuen Yeung’, a nod in the direction of the Malaysian Kopi Cham. This highly Instagramable drink is served in a tall glass with Hong Kong-style milk tea layered with coffee foam and topped with glitter. With notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and honey, this luxurious drink is dubbed the ‘espresso martini’ of the East. Simply fabulous.
Yum Cha | Image courtesy of Sugar, EAST Hong Kong
And it just wouldn’t be a traditional Hong Kong experience without the ‘Yum Cha’. Every little nuance is accounted for with this drink, from the dumpling basket to the makeshift bill, the yum cha is a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds. Topped with dried chrysanthemum flowers (the symbol of goodbyes, which was apt for our last cocktail of the evening) This creamy cocktail had a Szechuan kick, ideal for the sugar-adverse cocktail drinkers.
A divine experience
I also tried a range of Sugar’s Southeast Asian-inspired tapas, including the Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls, the Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings, and the French Fries with Truffle Mayo which were eagerly devoured by our table. Head to the East of the island and be sure to visit EAST Hong Kong’s Sugar bar. The ‘Flavours of Hong Kong’ menu will be available until March 2021. Whether it’s a socially-distanced gathering, date night or a post-work fix, Sugar certainly provides a taste for every palette.
Sugar, 32/F, EAST Hong Kong, Taikoo Shing, Taikoo Shing Road, Hong Kong, +852 3968 3738, easthotels.com