Tried & Tested

Restaurant review: Foxglove, Hong Kong

26 Mar 2019 by Jackie Chen
Foxglove - Exterior

Background

Opened in November 2015, Foxglove is the second restaurant of Ming Fat Group. Like its other outlets, including Mrs. Pound that Business Traveller Asia-Pacific reviewed previously and Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour, Foxglove employs the trope of a fictional character called Frank Minza, an English gentleman who is “a death-defying adventurer with a taste for rare spirits”.

Foxglove previously focused on “French-inspired” cuisine, but has now shifted its focus to traditional Cantonese cuisine, so I wanted to check out the new menu.

Where is it?

In the Printing House building next to the Duddell Street Steps and Gas Lamps, which are currently under maintenance after some parts were damaged by Typhoon Mangkhut last September. It’s easy to reach by MTR, being just a five-minute walk from Exit D1 of Central Station.

What's it like?

Foxglove is a speakeasy-style restaurant and bar, which is hidden behind an umbrella shop selling handmade Fox Umbrellas from the UK. The umbrellas are presented in the brass-edged wall cabinets on both sides of the passage. I couldn’t help thinking of the Kingsman film series, where a tailor’s shop hides the agents’ secret headquarters.

Foxglove - Umbrellas

The major dining area, called the Main Hangar, is reminiscent of an aeroplane both in its name and its layout. The white ceiling looks like aircraft luggage racks, while the dark blue sofas and armchairs do have an “airline seat” aesthetic about them. Meanwhile, the low ceiling adds an additional intimate feeling.

A stage stands in the front with a replica of a 1940s Gloster jet engine mounted on the wall behind. Music performances are held every week from Tuesday to Saturday in the evening after 9pm.

Next to the Main Hangar is the Orient Express Cabin for VIP guests. The design recalls the vintage first class train cabin with red seats and an arched ceiling. The walls on both sides are decorated with a row of black umbrellas.

There’s a bar beside the Main Hangar with nine bar seats.

There's a bar beside the Main Hangar with nine bar seats.

The washrooms also look like antique cruise cabins from outside.

Foxglove - Washroom

There’s another bar named Frank’s Library hidden deep inside Foxglove in a secluded corner of the restaurant behind a closed curtain and an elevator panel. It’s open between 6pm and 1am from Sunday to Thursday, and from 6pm to 3am on Friday and Saturday.

Foxglove - Elevator Panel

The food

I visited Foxglove during lunchtime. There are two lunch sets available: an executive lunch set and a dim sum set. The menus are changed bi-weekly. I decided to select from the executive lunch set as it offers more choice, including soup, dim sum, main course, rice or noodles and dessert.

I was having lunch with a friend, meaning we were able to order more dishes from the menu. Before the meal, we were asked if we would like some tea. There are four kinds of teas in the organic Chinese tea menu: Aged Pu Erh, Iron Buddha (oolong tea), Gwai Red Tea and Chinese Green Tea. We selected Chinese Green Tea.

The lunch began with soup. I chose the pumpkin purée seafood soup, which had a smooth and silky taste with the prawns, scallops and small clams giving it a slight edge.

My friend went for the spatulate-leaved sauropus and coconut soup, served with slices of coconut fruit, but she said she couldn’t really taste the flavour of coconut amid the other flavours.

Foxglove - Spatulate-leaved sauropus and coconut soup

Then dim sum was served. There are three dishes on the menu, which came together in a set, including a char siu puff, three pan-fried rice rolls with special soya, and a siu maai dumpling topped with a scallop served in a delicate bamboo steamer. I particularly liked the siu maai dumpling because its inside was filled with seafood.

Foxglove - Dim sum set

After the dim sum, we were ready for our main dishes, though we ended up having to wait around 10-15 minutes for our main dish after the dim sum set was cleared. That’s a notable delay, and for an executive lunch set it would be a bit inconvenient if you were in a rush to get back to the office after lunchtime.

We ordered two dishes served in individual portions so that we could share. One of them was the plum sauce glazed spareribs. The plum sauce added a sweet and sour flavour, and helped the ribs taste less greasy than I expected.

Foxglove - Plum sauce glazed spareribs

The other main dish that we ordered was chicken fried with black bean and mixed pepper. It was a bit spicy but quite appetising.

Foxglove - Chicken fried with black bean and mixed pepper

Rice and noodles came together with the main dishes. There are two choices: seafood fried rice, and marmoreal mushroom and egg noodles (or rice thin noodles, depending on your preference) in superior broth.

Foxglove - Marmoreal mushroom and egg noodles (or rice thin noodles) in superior broth

Finally we had some desserts, which were served in tiny portions.

The deep-fried custard milk roll was impressive. The surface was crispy, while the hot custard inside offered a smooth texture and thicker mouthfeel.

Compared with the fried milk, the other dessert, peach resin and goji berry jelly looked beautiful, but turned out to be a bit flavourless.

Foxglove - Peach resin and goji berry jelly

Verdict

I really like the interior design of the venue, and the concept of a mysterious restaurant hidden behind an umbrella shop is quite impressive. The atmosphere inside is cosy and relaxing, though some might find it a bit odd to savour traditional Cantonese cuisine in a restaurant with vintage Western-style furnishings.

Meanwhile, its location right in the central business district enhances its appeal to white-collar workers or business travellers who want to bring their colleagues or contacts for a decent but less formal business lunch nearby.

The service is also good. Our cups were regularly refilled with tea, and our plates were cleared quickly after we finished the food.

Fact file

  • Hours: Lunch: 12-3pm from Monday to Friday; Dinner: 5pm-1am from Monday to Thursday, and 5pm-3am on Friday and Saturday. Closed on Sunday.
  • Price: The Executive Lunch Set is priced at HK$218 (US$28) per person, while the Dim Sum Set is priced at HK$168 (US$21.4). Organic tea is charged HK$25 (US$3.2) per person. All prices are subject to a 10 per cent service charge.
  • Location: G/F, 18 Ice House Street; or 2/F, Printing House, 6 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong
  • Contact: +852 2116 8949; reservation@foxglovehk.com; mingfathouse.com
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