Hong Kong’s newest cocktail hideaway, Zzura, offers contemporary cocktails set against a tantalising modern interpretation of the lost city of Zerzura.
Deserts have a habit of swallowing up cities, from the Lost City of Ubar to Tanis in modern-day Libya. Another ill-fated city was Zerzura, which is said to have nestled in the desert west of the Nile back in the 13th century. The affluent trading city’s monarchs were said to be protected by black giants and were centred around a series of oases. However, despite expeditions to discover the city taking place through the 19th and 20th centuries, no one has ever discovered Zerzura.
It’s a fitting theme for Zzura, Hong Kong’s newest speakeasy, which takes its inspiration from the mythical civilization. The creation of industry stalwarts – including co-founders of The Daily Tot and mixologist Gagan Gurung of Tell Camellia – the new Hollywood Road venue offers a contemporary take on timeless Arabic hospitality at the heart of Soho.
With interiors by Hong Kong’s NC Design & Architecture that could stand in for Star Wars‘ iconic Tatooine cantina (which was also set in the desert), Zzura will serve cocktails created by Gurung and Princebir Singh, formerly of Zuma, that are laced with Middle Eastern influences and ingredients for modern-day adventurers.
Take a perch at the long bar or at one of the corner banquettes in the tent-inspired main room and work your way through a spice-inspired cocktail menu that includes the Tabib Shepherd, with Tumeric gin, clarified mango juice, and goat’s milk yogurt; Saffron Milk Punch, with rum, saffron, pineapple, cardamom, cinnamon, clarified milk and Masala tea; and the heat-busting Sumac Paloma, with Blanco Tequila, mezcal, sumac, and grapefruit soda.
Zzura will also offer a series of food-inspired cocktails ranging from the Date Me Fashioned, with date-infused rum and homemade coffee bitters; the Big Fig, a blend of Scotch, homemade fig jam, lemon, and egg white; and the Smokey Rose, with Smokey gin, rose, Lapsouchong tea, clarified apple juice, raspberry, and malic acid.
Of course, any desert weigh station worth its weight in water will serve explorers sustenance and Zzura will present a food menu of Middle Eastern bites from Jashan restaurant – think spicy hummus with pita bread, authentic falafel, mini mix grills, zatar sweet potato, and chicken shawarma pita pocket – in the coming months.
“There is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing” – Lawrence of Arabia
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