It seems like there’s a hip new bar or restaurant sprouting up every week in Hong Kong’s Western District. And that assumption’s probably not far from the truth. Sheung Wan, Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town are all up-and-coming places in the city that offer up large spaces for venues and sport a laidback atmosphere – a far cry from the chock-full streets of Central or Tsim Sha Tsui.
The latest to take advantage of the Western District vibe is the French bar, Collection De Vignobles. And it’s chosen a great spot in a quiet Kennedy Town street, tucked away on the corner of Forbes and Cadogan.
We trickle in on a Sunday evening for a few drinks to round up the hectic weekend. We are greeted by a nicely lit space decked out with European décor featuring displays of wine bottles and barrels plus snug tables and couches that lead up to the bar. The windows open out to the street, allowing a delightful breeze to drift through, which is ideal for the summer heat. On the playlist are remixed jazz versions of classics like Just The Way You Are and Imagine sung by a female vocalist.
We plunk ourselves on a high chair next to the window near a crowded table enjoying a bottle of wine over cheeses and cold cuts, and we begin to peruse the wine menu of only French wines hailing from different regions of the country. We select a light Roux Pere & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir ($82) to start. The mild acidity and graceful touches of fruitiness make this a favourable complement to a heavier meal. For those not into sweet tones, this Pinot Noir is subtle, dry, and easy on the tongue. Moving on to a more dense option we then go for a glass of Château Lagrave Haut-Médoc 2009 ($94). It’s a Bordeaux, so it has a fuller body, with deeper accents and even less acidity than the Pinot Noir. It has sweeter notes so it would go well with harder cheeses to build a delectable contrast. We end things off with a Chateau Marigny-Neuf Sauvignon ($55) from Vallée de la Loire to get a taste of a clean, crisp white. It’s easy on the palate without frivolous frills – a solid white.
As well as their handsome collection of French wines, Collection De Vignobles also has a full list of classic cocktails and they serve up weekend bunches from 11am to 3pm along with a substantial dining menu boasting salads, cheeses, pastas and their signature Forbes Homard, which is a heavenly combo of lobster stew with pan-seared foie gras.
Overall, the feel and ambience of this recently opened Kennedy Town establishment is as to be expected. It’s quaint, cosy and sticks to the familiar. The selection of wines aren’t rare or overly thrilling, but it serves for the casual nature that is the heart and soul of this new, simple, friendly neighbourhood bar on the block. Charlie Tamoto
Collection de Vignobles G/F, Sincere Western House, 71 Cadogan St, Kennedy Town, 2817 2112; collection-de-vignobles.com.hk.
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