Hong Kong boasts one of the most dynamic dining scenes on the planet, filled with culinarians and tastemakers galore. In our Cheat Day column, we spotlight some of the top players in the kitchen and behind the bar, delving into their personal favourites during their days off. This week, we speak to Benjamin Boyce of LPM Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong.
LPM Restaurant & Bar will be launching its first ever experiential global cocktail menu on 11 October, a series that celebrates the life of influential French artist, writer and bon-vivant, Jean Cocteau. You may recognize his name from the classic film depictions of The Blood of a Poet (1930) and Beauty and the Beast (1946).
The evocative menu, titled “Recipes for our Friends”, presents a thematic experience that consists of four chapters, each highlighting a place that Cocteau once called home. Three new cocktails are presented in each chapter, telling a story of a person or event that marked Cocteau’s colourful life.
We catch up with LPM Hong Kong’s Bar Manager, Benjamin Boyce, over a glass of Pablo from their new menu — my personal favourite, a devilish concoction of gin, tarragon and mint cordial.
Which is your favourite drink from this series? Tell us about it.
My all-time favourite from LPM’s Global Cocktail Menu “Recipes for our Friends” is Criquet de Milly from the third chapter. This drink is made with white cacao, peppermint liqueur and coconut sorbet and brings me right back to my childhood as the taste profile is really similar to the British tradition of After Eight chocolates.
Walk us through a bit of your background.
I began working part time in the bar industry when I was just 16 years old in the UK, and loved it from the outset. I then had an opportunity to move to Dubai, aged 21, where I worked as the Bar Manager for French Mediterranean restaurant, Bagatelle. I worked hard in Dubai and opened more than six new bars and restaurants in the five years I spent in the Middle East, eventually winning the 2017 Chivas Masters UAE title, which was a pretty spectacular career highlight for me. After that, it was back to London for a stint at Mayfair’s Onima, and then Hong Kong was calling!
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
I was once told by a previous boss, “Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. They’ll always push you and encourage you to continuously aim higher.”
He really thought me a lot about team work and how to constantly strive to be better in my work.
Describe yourself in three words.
Sarcastic, serious and savvy.
Cheat Day time! Which are your five go-to dishes or drinks in restaurants or bars in Hong Kong?
LPM Restaurant & Bar, H Queen’s, 23-29 Stanley Street, Central, +852 2887 1113