The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Affordably priced whiskies and great mains on Hong Kong Street.
The must-orders (if any): A dram of affordably-priced whisky, Duck Confit
Summary: Picking up where Latin American cocktail joint Vasco left off on Hong Kong Street, The Cooperage is a cosy whisky bar offering more than 200 whiskies (mostly from Scotland) at incredibly accessible and affordable prices. The sound situation is certainly conducive for actual conversations, while the brown leather sofas allow for some very comfy in-sofa slumps as you rant to your friend about useless colleagues who only got and keep their jobs because they called in friendly ‘favours’/muse about your upcoming sexy-times holiday to Bali/give the person sitting opposite you come-hither glances as you linger your lips suggestively above the edge of the whisky glass.
The extensive beverage menu is pages and pages long. The general price point for 30ml of the entry-level and popular whisky choices is between $12 to $25, which your wallet would rejoice at. For instance, the various 12 Year Malt Glens (Glenrothes, Glengoyne, Glenkinchie, Glenfiddich and so on) are priced at just $12 for 30ml, with the corresponding 15 Year Malts and 18 Year Malts priced at $15 and $18 respectively for the same amount. The usual Macallans, Laphroaigs, Taliskers and Ardbegs as well as Hibikis and Nikkas are all present and correct, while elsewhere the discerning can go for the $25 dram of Octomore 07.2 5 Year Old Scottish Barley 208 PPM, and the high SES can opt for the $3,988.00 bottle of Bowmore Mizunara.
On the food front, aside from a range of pizzas, oysters, cheese and cold cuts, The Cooperage offers a small selection of canapes (sample: Wasabi Octopus), Don Buri Bowls (sample: Salmon with Spicy Mentaiko Sauce topped with Ikura), Pastas (sample: Carbonara Egg Yolk with Bacon) and Main Courses (sample: Black Angus Tenderloin, Truffle Potato Mash, Salad). For the price point in a Hong Kong Street/CBD setting, I was impressed with the happily lubricated and very al dente Spicy Prawn and Scallop Aglio Olio, served with a crustacean that confirms big heads are better (is that a saucy wink or a reference to Pinky and the Brain? – Chaste Reader). Even more notable is their Duck Confit with Truffle Mash and Orange Sauce, which made me smile in a way that I haven’t done since first trying the quack quack at The Betterfield years ago. The crisp yet indulgently fatty skin alone deserves its own stage.
I am already planning a return visit. The price of the whiskies is joyous fun and even for the non-alcoholic, the happily-priced and comforting grub is worth a look-see. The Cooperage is immediately my second favourite new dining concept this year since The Spot, and I am excited to see how things go from here.
42 Hong Kong Street