It’s never difficult to find a place to drink in Wan Chai but finding a bar where you can avoid the crowds, now that’s more of a challenge in this bustling neighbourhood. Touting itself as 'your private hideout' (well, not yours specifically, but you get the gist), newcomer Zummer is set to fill this exact niche, offering a quiet, casual enclave for post-work cocktails and a few glasses of wine.
Boasting two levels at the QRE dining complex, Zummer encompasses a modern fine-dining restaurant on the 25th floor while a bar and lounge take over the spot below. Just fresh from renovation, there are a few things around the room that still need some tweaking (our biggest concern is the heavyset marble tables, which keep wobbling under their own weight). Overall though, the sprawling space is already doing well in channelling sleek-yet-cosy vibes with its carefully dimmed lighting and a line of large, comfy, low-slung sofas spread across the middle of the room. We recommend grabbing a banquette seat by the open windows, which affords surprisingly stunning views of the district.
Drinks-wise, the wine list here may not be exceptionally extensive but efforts have been made to cover an array of prices and regions. Champagnes, for example, range from Moët & Chandon by the glass ($180) to bottles of Louis Roederer Cristal ($3,900) while New World and Old World wines get equal love in the reds and whites portion of the menu. For mixed drinks, the cucumber fizz ($75), made from muddled fresh cucumbers, soda and Midori, is a refreshing starting tipple, though on the slightly mellow side. For something more potent, go for the Long Island-inspired highball crafted from vodka, gin and sparkling wine that’s sweetened with crème de cassis and topped off with pineapple juice ($80).
Not all the drinks impress but if you let the barmen know, they’ll happily fix you up with something else. On the night of our first visit, we mention to one of the staff that our lychee cocktail is too gingery, to which he offers to shake us up a new drink at no additional cost. We hope this level of service keeps up once the word gets out and the venue starts getting busier.
The bar also offers a small but satisfying snacks menu that culls from both Eastern and Western cuisines.Try the mini spring rolls ($58), which arrive four to an order with a piping hot mash-up of minced chicken and julienned carrots enveloped in a thin, crispy and impressively ungreasy exterior. We also recommend the mini pizza platter ($78) – bite-sized rounds of buttery, almost short bread-like crusts topped with tomato concasse and gooey mozzarella before being finished off with a trio of crabmeat, foie gras and lobster.
Zummer isn’t revolutionary in its concept, décor or drinks selection but it doesn’t need to be because the main selling point is the laid-back and comfortable setting. And while this bar might not be the best in the area, it’s still a nice respite from Lockhart Road. Dorothy So
23/F, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen’s Rd East, Wan Chai, 2574 6692; www.zummer.com.hk.