by Qian Leung
A row of four shophouses in Wan Chai dating from 1888 used to house a pawn shop, a clan association, a fashion boutique, and a beauty salon. Built in a Southern Chinese-style, the upper living areas have high ceilings and French windows opening into balconies, while each family’s shop on the ground floor extends into a walkway sheltered by the overhanging balconies. Today, the architecture has been refurbished into a botanicals bar, a dining area, and a rooftop garden, collectively known as The Pawn. In the evenings, pick an alfresco seat and watch the trams pass slowly by as you sip on Deep in the Woods, Matusalem 15-year-old dark rum with bourbon, Pedro Ximénez sherry, Russian pine bitter, and liquorice. At the helm of the restaurant menu is Chef Tom Aikens, the youngest British chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars. His father’s work in the wine industry and family holidays in France inspired an interest in the cuisine, while his appreciation for home-grown vegetables came from his mother. Start with house-made ricotta with broad beans, green peas, and pea shoots handpicked from The Pawn’s rooftop garden, served with toasted sourdough. For the main, pick baked cod with ash, beef brisket, asparagus salad, and coal oil, or lamb cutlet with mashed peas, roast garlic, and garlic infused cream.