An unwelcome addition to Hong Kong’s tiki scene
Replacing Mahalo tiki bar in Wan Chai’s QRE Plaza is… an identical tiki bar. Called Ohana – meaning extended family in Hawaiian – there’s no problem with picking up where previous owners left off, but let’s be clear – this is a lazy rebadging and little else. Even the décor is the exact same. We literally can’t spot a single difference.
For our first round of drinks, we opt for an I Know Teddy ($128). This is Ohana’s take on a dark and stormy, made with cardamom-infused dark rum, ginger beer, lime and – though it isn’t stated on the menu – an excess of bitters. Garnished with a flaming sugar cube, the cocktail is ruined by burnt chunks of crystallised sugar that fall into the concoction. It’s an ordeal to drink.
Next up, we try the Hula-Hula-Hoop ($128), a sort-of mai tai made with dark rum, pineapple, rose water, homemade pistachio syrup and lime. The toasted coconut around the rim is a nice touch and gives a lovely nose to the drink. As for the bevvy itself, the rum is hardly noticeable and we can’t detect either the rose water or pistachio. The only flavours present are weak rum and pineapple juice.
As a last gamble, we order the Ohana Colada, which comes for either one or two people ($108 and $208 respectively), hoping the bar might yet redeem itself. This colada is an ice-blended mix of dark rum, pineapple, banana, coconut cream, homemade chilli syrup and lime. It wins for being the most ridiculously awesome-looking drink we’ve seen in a while as it comes served in a hollowed-out pineapple garnished with a hand-carved pineapple parrot. The drink itself? The pineapple drowns out everything, leaving not even a hint of chilli.
With so few tweaks to the previous formula, we’re not sure where Ohana hopes to succeed where Mahalo failed. The staff are great and it’s not ugly – it’s just a deeply uninspired concept with subpar drinks.
29/F, QRE Plaza
202 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai
|Transport:||Wan Chai MTR station, exit A3.|
|Do you own this business?|