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 Lok Gurung, beverage manager of Stockton.
Lok Gurung is a cocktail geek — and we mean that in the most endearing way possible. He knows more ingredients than I can name, plays with garnishes and will readily go into an excited spiel about his experiments. We love it. In fact, one of our team’s collective all-time favourite garnishes — the dashi-soy cucumber from a cocktail in Roji — was created by this man. Tell him your preferred flavour profile, ask for his recommendation, and then just sit back and let him do his thing.
“I actually stumbled into F&B by chance,” he says. “I initially wanted to be a fitness trainer, but that didn’t work out, so I switched to hospitality. Once in the industry, I started to learn how to make drinks and mixology just grew on me. The first month was definitely the hardest because I had no clue about alcohol at all. Over time, I really got into the rhythm and now enjoy challenging myself by inventing new cocktails, testing out different recipes and talking to my guests.”
Creativity of Sins
Last month, Gurung helped Stockton create and launch their new “Creativity of Sins” menu, a weirdly delightful, funky list of drinks that are complex and a theatrical delight. The concept and cocktails are inspired by the life of notorious American journalist and author, Hunter S. Thompson, illustrating the pivotal moments in his life.
“The menu is designed as a book; each cocktail comes with a short vignette which explains how certain milestones or personal preferences influenced our creative process. We factored in the places he visited, his preference in cocktails and important figures in his life.”
You’ll see the likes of drinks such as Anita (HK$130), a whisky, apple pie moonshine and cheese foam concoction named after Thompson’s second wife, and Hells Angels (HK$125), a heady lager, Pisco and spiced coffee milk punch inspired by his time with the motorcycle gang.
Which would you consider your signature drink in the new menu?
It’s hard to say as every guest has their own preference. I’d say Prince Jellyfish (HK$130), Gonzo (HK$135) and Hells Angels (HK$125). Since the launch of the menu, these three cocktails have been very popular.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
Love what you do, always give 100% and serve with a smile.
Cheat day time! Which are your five go-to dishes/drinks in restaurants or bars in Hong Kong?
For drinks, Paloma from COA, Bloody Mary from St. Regis and the pickled margarita from Wise King.
For food, I love the mango sticky rice from Spice on Knutsford Terrace, pizza from Amalfitana in Repulse Bay and spicy Italian Subway sandwiches.
Stockton, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, +852 2565 5268