Located in the heart of Central, Hong Kong’s Foxglove is the second restaurant of the Ming Fat Group. Similar to its other concepts, Mrs. Pound and Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour, Foxglove is embodied by a fictional character. Foxglove’s inspiration comes from Frank Minza, the black sheep of a wealthy, English aristocratic family who is also “a death-defying adventurer with a taste for rare spirits.”
Ming Fat House has developed the concept for their restaurants around a detailed backstory with fascinating characters that crossover into each iteration:
“Ming Fat House’s story begins with a talented Eurasian burlesque dancer known as Mrs. Pound. She traveled often with her companion Mr. Ming, searching for the most delicious Southeast Asian street food. Mrs. Pound’s career flourished through her renowned burlesque dancing, which was often covered by the media, until one day it all became too much for her to handle. She then fled to Mr. Ming for help, who helped her escape the public eye by offering her the safety of his favorite stamp shop, where she could hide and reminisce of their adventures.
However, she soon met a handsome, wealthy English aristocrat named Frank Minza at a party. He was an equally avid traveler and loved the finest of food and drink. Their relationship was a series of ups and downs, leading to the most picturesque of destinations via First Class trains, planes and yachts. Despite all Minza’s efforts, Mrs. Pound wasn’t happy and she left him one day. So, to prove his dedication and love to Mrs. Pound, Frank created Foxglove, which was inspired by her favorite flower, a beautiful plant, but extremely poisonous to humans. Located in the heart of Foxglove, Frank’s Library was created to hold Frank’s rare collection of whiskies, books and favorite armchairs. He often came here to collect his thoughts and find solace in the company of his confidants.
During this tumultuous relationship, Mrs. Pound sought help to stabilize her moods and thoughts, and was referred to a Dutch doctor who was known for his research experience in botanical recipes. She found that these sessions at Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour helped to ease her stress levels. Little did she know, Dr. Fern gradually fell in love with her over time and convinced her to continue her sessions for free, where he could not only help improve her mood with Gin prescriptions and records, but having been someone who had spent much of his time in his research, he also found great happiness in her company.”
With a backstory like this, it’s no wonder that the Ming Fat House concept, and each of their iterations, offer much more than your typical restaurant and bar setup.
Foxglove – Central, Hong Kong
This unique narrative and ambience is embodied throughout all Ming Fat House locations, and with Hong Kong’s Foxglove, the location attempts to transport all its guests to the “golden age of aviation and travel.” This location focuses on serving delicious Chinese cuisine and elevated mixology – creating a space that is both comforting as well as sophisticated.
The main dining area features “white waffle-shaped ceilings” and dark blue sofas and armchairs inspired by 1950s airplanes, while the bar and restrooms have qualities reminiscent of a first-class ship. A stage is situated at the front with a replica of a 1940s Gloster jet engine mounted on the wall behind it. From the design of the restaurant to the menu selection, the founders of the group have and continue to make their mark in the industry with their eclectic speak-easies and restaurants.
The enigmatic venue offers diners and drinkers a selection of rare cognac and spirits, bottled in the 1930s, 40s and 50s – aged for as long as half a century. Bottles from defunct distilleries as well as Japanese cask-strength whiskies are also available. Their specially curated cocktail menu presents a captivating selection with Frank’s own twists, such as the “Homage to Prohibition” or “A Taste for the Exotic,” or you can take a sip out of rare vintage brandy bottled in the 1930s.
Kick things up a notch with the tongue-numbing Sichuan Xiao Long Bao Pork Soup Dumplings (HK$65/3 pieces); or try the sweet and savory Curry Chicken Pineapple Baos (HK$55/2 baos) or the Cheeseburger Spring Rolls (HK$70/4 pieces). The Angus Beef Puffs (HK$80/3 pieces) are delightful handmade pastries with a hearty filling. But, the kitchen doesn’t alienate vegetarians, offering the Wild Mushroom Baos (HK$40/2 pieces) and fiery Ma-La Vegetarian Wonton (HK$55/6 pieces) served with homemade chili oil.
For the perfect finish to a delectable meal, be sure to order the Deep-fried Nutella Balls (HK$50/3 pieces) or Molten Egg Custard Taro Baos (HK$50/3 pieces) to round off your meal. Foxglove also offers Three Little Birdies (HK$90/3 pieces), with each birdie handcrafted from pineapple cake and served with heavenly scoops of coconut ice cream.
Throughout the evening, fortunate guests are entertained by Janaia Farrell, who has toured the world performing in musicals, with orchestras and for major label recording studios. Her soulful and nonchalant demeanor on stage displays a presence that is both enticing and mesmerizing. Performing a variety of genres from funk, soul and R&B to ballads and pop – some of which are upon the request of diners – Farrell’s performance adds an intimate and dreamy feel to the experience.
Hong Kong’s Foxglove hopes for their diners to have “feelings of joy, nostalgia, love and relaxation – feelings that have to do with bonding and having a good time with good company.”
“We want people leaving Foxglove with a smile on their face,” continues Jonathan Bui, one of the founders of Ming Fat House, during an interview with A Foodie World. And they have achieved just that.
From the ambience, interior and music to the food and beverage offerings, the team at Ming Fat house curates a one-of-a-kind experience that allows its guests to explore a “different world” – far removed from the bustling hubbub of the city.
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