When looking for a place to go for drinks, I often struggle to find somewhere new and exciting that isn’t just the same as any other bar. Any of the Wyndham Street bars is pretty interchangeable with the next. Before you get that far, however, look out for a slightly hidden entrance that leads down some stairs to the hottest new bar in town, The Woods.
This gorgeous new spot, so-called for not only its Hollywood Road location, but also the fact that its opening was like stepping out into the unknown woods for owners Victoria, Juliette and Regina Chow, three sisters who had never branched out into the F&B scene before. Each sister has brought her own expertise to the table here: architect and interior designer Regina took care of the design; investment banker Juliette is the chief financial officer; whilst Victoria, with a background in event management and brand marketing, handles all the day to day aspects of running the business.
As you may have gathered, The Woods is not like any old bar. The space is divided into two main areas – the Lounge Area, which comfortably seats 50 guests and offers an insane selection of cocktails from a beautiful wooden menu; and The Prix-Fixe Bar, seating only 8 guests by reservation only, to enjoy a four-course cocktail menu paired with food. Using market-fresh ingredients and carefully curated spirits, the Chow sisters’ aim is to “elevate cocktails to a culinary art form,” therefore the cocktails are the star of the show here, with food in close second place behind.
I was invited to try the Prix-Fixe menu, yet since I arrived early, I was told I should try a couple of cocktails from the mean seasonal menu. I was brought up to always do as I’m told, so, despite it being a Monday night, I tried both the Four-Pepper Margarita and the Watermelon Cilantro. Both of these were wonderfully refreshing and each had a distinctive kick to it – if you aren’t afraid of a bit of chilli, I would strongly recommend either of these, my favourite being the Watermelon Cilantro.
After our ‘amuse bouche’ of hibiscus-infused Champagne, the ‘appetiser’ from the Prix-Fixe menu was a Gin Basil ‘Smash’ paired with watermelon, feta and balsamic. The cocktail had been injected into a sphere of ice – we had to use a mini hammer to break the ice and release the goodness. This was my sort of drink, made with Sipsmith gin, Thai basil, sweet basil and fresh lemon juice, a refreshing blend to start the ‘meal’ that paired perfectly with the equally refreshing cubes of watermelon, feta and balsamic.
For our ‘main course,’ we were served a glass of Bacon Bourbon paired with bone marrow. This was an interesting blend of smoky, savoury and sweet, with a hint of black pepper and five-spice powder to round it all out. The bone marrow was heavenly, simply roasted with thyme, and served with a slice of baguette to mop up the delicious juices. Once we were finished, we were told to use the bone as a luge to drink the shot of homemade bacon-infused bourbon. There’s photographic evidence of this somewhere, but not here!
‘Dessert’ was Absinthe Floss paired with meringue with cucumber jam. Instead of being served over a sugar cube, as Absinthe is traditionally done, we were served a glass topped with candyfloss, onto which we poured our blend of Absinthe, yoghurt, cucumber, lime juice, honey and rosemary. This may have been my least favourite of all the cocktails, most likely because I’m not a huge fan of anise, but the yoghurt and lime lightened it ever so slightly. The meringue with cucumber jam was a suitable pairing, but probably a little too sweet for my liking.
To round off any good ‘meal,’ one must end with a ‘digestif,’ in this case a Jasmine and Gin Tea Infusion. We watched in awe as our final cocktail bubbled in front of us in a double chamber infusion siphon – quite a spectacle in itself. It was certainly a strong drink to finish on, yet a delicious one that definitely showed the creativity behind the menu at The Woods.
My collection of glasses stacked up as the night went on; I may not have finished all of them, but I certainly had a fair few, especially for a Monday night!
The Prix-Fixe menu is available Monday to Thursday by reservation only. It is priced at $688 and changes every six to eight weeks, based on seasonal ingredients and brand collaborations. It’s a fun experience, both to watch and to taste, with interesting creations you wouldn’t get elsewhere. If you’re looking for a fun date place – this is definitely your best bet, provided he or she can handle their tipple! Drinks on the normal menu are priced at around $120 each.
Note: As you know, I’m a bit of a glutton, so if you’re ravenous, it might be worth ordering a couple of extra nibbles from the snack menu to soak up the booze and fill you up. The rosemary and Parmesan fries are impossible to resist, whilst the cookie skillet is insanely delicious.
L/G, 17 Hollywood Road
Tel: +852 2522 0281