Surry Hills to Soho

Author: Ed Peters
Photography: Jessica Hromas

A Sydney-born wine bar is introducing artisanal Italian drops to Hong Kong.

Opposite Tong's Machinery Shop, dwarfed by residential high-rises and just down the hill from a century-old shrine to a Taoist deity is the edgy spot Andrew Cibej picked for his new 121BC, a streetside wine bar in Hong Kong's burgeoning Soho entertainment district.

121BC is Italian in both kitchen and cellar, and a logical step for the proprietor of Sydney restaurants Vini and Berta, and the Surry Hills wine bar of the same name.

"We travel to Italy to meet wine producers, and Hong Kong is on the way," Cibej says. "I looked around and there seemed to be an absence of the sort of venue we have back home and little in the way of Italian wines."

Sommelier Giorgio De Maria has compiled an impressive wine list, and triumphantly declares, "Ninety-nine per cent of the wines are self-imported - you don't find them anywhere else in Hong Kong, and all of them are sustainably produced by small artisans."

With seating for 50 or so in a small space with a minimalist fit-out, 121BC presents a succinct menu, including traditional favourites such as buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, and roasted eggplant with ricotta. 121BC, 42-44 Peel St, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2395 0200.





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