A trip to a the doctor’s in Hong Kong is often quite an amusing experience, as, no matter your ailment, you will likely walk out with a bag full of countless different medicines decanted into separate little plastic bags that could give people the impression that you are somewhat of an addict. Wouldn’t it be nice if, rather than prescribing you dozens of pills that probably won’t even cure your flu, the doctor prescribed you an ice-cold gin and tonic?! Make an appointment at Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour and you’ll have enough gin to cure any malady!
Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour is nestled in the basement of the Landmark, behind an unassuming “doctor’s” door that opens to a very quirky speakeasy with mismatching tables and chairs. Much like the group’s other concept, Mrs. Pound, this bar comes with a story: Dr. Fern, an eccentric physician skilled in the study of botanicals, opened a bar where he can cure his patients’ illnesses with special concoctions made with fresh, local herbs and gins from around the world.
The slightly overwhelming menu lists 20 (yes twenty!) pages of gins to choose from, each paired with a corresponding herb or fruit, followed by a selection of different tonics. If that’s all too hard, there is of course a list of prescribed G&Ts that Dr. Fern recommends to suit any ailment.
Whilst by night Dr. Fern’s is packed full of businesspeople desperate to cure themselves of all their work stresses, by day it serves an equally quirky afternoon tea set inspired by the doctor’s favourite book, Alice in Wonderland.
The Mad Hatter Tea Party is served Tuesday to Sunday from 2pm to 5pm and consists of beautiful tiered tea plates stacked full of savoury and sweet treats plus a pot of tea or coffee, although of course there is the option to switch this for a G&T for an additional charge – it would be rude not to!
I was advised to start at the top, with the Tick Tock Roll, a variation on a classic lobster roll that was every bit as decadent and delicious as it should be.
From here, I moved to the bottom plate, starting with the Truffle Bonkers Sandwich, a delightful bite of fluffy scrambled egg with cucumber, cream cheese and truffle paste that was also excellent.
Tweedle-Dee’s Treat – smoked salmon on toasted sourdough – was generous in size and very tasty, but the hot toast made the salmon a little too warm for my liking.
Last of the savouries was the Wonderland’s Cream Cheese and Crackers, consisting of a light and fluffy homemade sesame and cream cheese dip that I could have eaten with a spoon, but, to be polite, made do with the crackers.
The best part of any afternoon tea set should be the dessert, but I was somewhat underwhelmed by Dr. Fern’s selection. The Queen of Tarts was a matcha green tea tart that I found far too bitter to be enjoyable.
The Eat Me Tart had every promise of being delicious, with its rich chocolate ganache filling and chocolate biscuit base, until I got to the raspberry jam, which ruined it for me. But please note that I like my chocolate pure and untouched by any fruit, so if you like fruit and chocolate you’ll probably appreciate this.
I did enjoy the Cheesy Rabbit Cake – a simple classic cheesecake, although, since it was a tall cheesecake but we were only given a small round, the base to cheese ratio was a little unbalanced.
My favourite of the desserts was the Cheshire Carrot Cake, a perfectly moist and spiced cake that got the icing to cake ratio spot on.
The afternoon tea set is priced at $498 for two (+$50 each for a gin and tonic), whilst a typical G&T will cost you upwards of $88. The staff (dressed as doctors, of course) are knowledgeable and friendly, although drinks can take a little while during peak times. They do take bookings though (or “appointments” rather) so make sure you make one.
What better way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon than indulging on an afternoon tea set, washed down with medicinal gin and tonics?! If Dr. Fern says it’s good for me then I should probably do as the doctor ordered!
Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour
Shop B31A, Landmark Atrium
15 Queen’s Road Central
Tel: +852 2111 9449