Topiary positions itself as the next ‘it’ watering hole. With a quaint name (who doesn’t like shrubs shaped like animals?) and quirky interiors by Laura Cheung, the ambience at the bar is strangely magnetic in an Alice in Wonderland kind of way. The colours don’t match but nevertheless somehow go together, like the lime green faux stain-glassed window next to a bright red wall and hot pink shelves. The large terrace area is lined with shrubs that, unfortunately, haven’t been sculpted into amusing shapes, but it serves its purpose in creating a refreshing environment.
The menu, however, swaps quirk for business talk, with the signature cocktails all sporting a financial theme, like the Bulge Bracket and the Hostile Takeover. But they’re pretty creative. We begin with an Office Affair ($128), where liquid nitrogen is poured into an oil lamp to induce a fragrant mist of flowers that’s for the nose only. The drink, on the other hand, has the exact components of an office affair: it’s sexy and exciting but lacks any substance. Even though the egg white cuts into the bite of the gin so the fruity cassis can emerge, it needs more tart to catch your attention. The Saturday No Work Policy ($128) fares better. Served in a basket of crisps, you just want to watch football in a La-Z-Boy while drinking this. The beer and froth go down smoothly and successfully mask the bourbon’s sharpness, leaving hints of toffee on the palate.
From the quirky décor to the oil lamps and the chip baskets, the presentation is top notch at Topiary but, like the shrubs on the terrace, a little bit more character needs to go into the cocktails so this place can become a cut above the rest. Lisa Cam
Topiary 3/F, Hilltop Plaza, 49-51 Hollywood Rd, Central, 2866 6485; topiaryhk.com.