At the end of October, one of my lifelong friends came to Hong Kong for a quick visit at the end of a work trip to Bangkok. I love sharing our life abroad with friends and family from back home, I’ll be honest, when Rachel and I are together, we go into full-on “Treat Yo Self” mode. Add to that the excitement of exploring a new city with so much to offer, and the fact that she is recently engaged, and you’ll understand how celebratory we were feeling. And what better way to celebrate than with a fancy afternoon tea.
Thanks to its colonial roots, there are plenty of places to go for a traditional afternoon tea in Hong Kong, from the iconic Peninsula to the swanky Mandarin Oriental. We opted for something a little quirkier when we stumbled onto Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour.
Dr. Fern’s is a 1920’s Speakeasy-themed gin bar and restaurant that fronts as a doctor’s office. Tucked in the corner of a shopping complex across the hall from a Louis Vuitton store, it’s easy to miss, but of course, that’s kind of the point.
From the outside, we were greeted with a frosted glass door that looks like an old fashioned doctor’s office. The door was quite short, giving the impression that we would have to duck to enter, but when we pulled the handle, we were immediately charmed to see that what appeared to be the wall actually concealed the hidden edges of the door, which was ordinary-sized.
Stepping inside was like being sucked into an alternate world. Flowers and vines spill from shelves and crawl down the walls and hang from the light fixtures like an overgrown conservatory in some grand abandoned house, while lamps with long fringed shades and an antique gramophone give the impression of being in a different time altogether. A full bar along the back wall glitters with bottles and glasses that reminded me of an old general store or an apothecary. The whole effect was utterly charming.
The waiters dressed in vests and lab coats. The afternoon tea spread was served on wooden log tray covered by a banana leaf and came with an assortment of savories and sweets along with a beaker of dry ice for effect. (When the waiter brought it out he warned us, “This is not for drinking! Only for pictures!”)
The finger foods included miniature Yorkshire puddings and a tuna tartare with thinly sliced daikon and a small garnish of caviar among other things. While none of the food was particularly outstanding, they were all pleasant little bites.
We had the option to either choose one of the teas on the menu or to upgrade to a specialty gin and tonic for $50 HKD. We obviously chose the latter. These were served in tall glasses with real flowers for garnish.
Dr. Fern’s has been one of my favorite finds in Hong Kong and is definitely a place I will continue to bring guests whenever they come to visit (or go myself for a treat!) If you live in Hong Kong or come for a visit, be sure to check it out!
How to Get There:
Take the MTR to Central and use Exit G. Do not take the stairs all the way up to the street. Dr. Fern’s is on first basement level of the Landmark (which you will walk into from the MTR station) tucked beside the stairs across the hall from the Louis Vuitton store.