Tsim Sha Tsui’s newly-opened Boticario combines the best South American street food with cocktails inspired by timeless healing traditions.
They say the best things in life are worth waiting for, although that probably depends on what it is you’re anticipating. Just as dining restrictions went into knee-jerk overdrive in Hong Kong, a fascinating dining and mixology concept was reaching fruition. The timing couldn’t have been worse but now the brand spanking new Boticario has been taken off ice and officially launched as Tsim Sha Tsui’s coolest new casual dining and mixology haven.
Themed on the South American farmacias – or Boticarios – of post-WWI Buenos Aires, the new two-level venue has a little something for everyone, from inspired yet approachable comfort food, served indoors or on the harbour-facing patio, through to some of Kowloon’s most intriguing cocktails.
The new restaurant and grill, which is dressed in dark timber hues accentuated by vibrant houseplants, antique ceiling panels, pendant lamps, and vintage-esque apothecary cabinets, caters to 100 guests. Beer and cocktail lovers will likely flock to the alfresco patio or to the forest green banquettes of the lounge, while diners will make their way upstairs to the dining room and balcony for city views and a chance to graze their way through Boticario’s Latin-learning menu.
That menu ranges from street snacks – including the signature choripán grilled chorizo served on crusty bread and drizzled with salsa Criolla – as well as red snapper ceviche with avocado, dressed with Leche de Tigre and lemon oil; cheese croquettes with spiced tomato sauce; king prawns with apple and spicy Jalapeño dressing; “Pestle & Mortar” avocado served with tortilla chips; and beef empanadas served with chimichurri and coriander sauce.
The menu also includes more substantial dishes, including a tender beef burger with chorizo; smoked lamb shoulder served with jalapeño and coleslaw; and a selection of top-grade steak cuts. To finish, there’s Tres Leches cake with berry compote; and cheese platters with house-made chutney and crackers.
The farmacia theme continues in the cocktail selection, which follows the mantra of “cure for the modern age” and which features an impressive lineup of eye-catching classics given an imaginative nudge in the right direction. Many incorporate the same traditional herbs, roots, and flowers that would have healed the masses back in 1920s Buenos Aires (when they weren’t dancing in the streets that is) and combined with a raft of hand-picked craft spirits as well as homemade infusions, tonics, tinctures, and phosphates, ensure there’s a panacea for all your problems.
Highlights of the cocktail menu – which is broken down into moods ranging from serendipity, and nostalgia, to sanguine and melancholy – include the Smoke Bomb, a visually striking elixir made with aged Diplomatico Planas rum, pineapple, almond, sherry, fresh lime juice, and cacao bitters and topped with a flavoured smoked bubble created tableside.
For a collar cooler, try the highball-inspired Green Aura, which features pandan and lemongrass cold-distilled vodka, cachaca, green apple cordial, and fresh lime juice; or the Tiki-inspired Shell to Pay, which blends cold-distilled passionfruit rum with apricot liqueur, hibiscus, sherry, ginger ale and fresh lime juice.
For something a little more complex, we suggest the Brave Bullfighter (naturally), which delivers an earthiness and a savory touch thanks to cold-distilled shitake mushroom vodka, agave, fresh pink grapefruit juice, and lime juice; and if you really need to take the edge off, the doctor recommends the Buzz From the Bees, with apple brandy, sweet vermouth, hay liqueur, honey, and CBD bitters.
It’s been a hard year but there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and the attitude adjusting cure-alls of Boticario are sure to get you into the right frame of mind for the year ahead.
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