Sleek upholstery and dimmed, ambient lighting hanging from high ceilings — with this design and set up, Bitters and Sweets looks more like the kind of classy cocktail bar that would serve tapas or so-called “small bites” rather than a place that would serve burgers.
But, the bar has indeed just started serving up burgers. It comes as a set, with customers given the choice between having one of their signature cocktails or an alcoholic milkshake to go with their burger.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Bitters and Sweets: The bar first opened its doors in 2016, a stone’s throw away from Lan Kwai Fong. It’s known for serving quirky riffs on classic cocktails, like its gin and tea tonic, or the Smokey Joe — a twist on the Old-Fashioned that uses coffee-infused bourbon, chestnut, chocolate, and cherrywood smoke.
When it first came out, it was launched as a high concept craft cocktail kind of spot, so we were a bit surprised when the Bitters and Sweets team got in touch with us to let us know that they were rolling out their take on the classic American diner-style cheeseburger.
So — how was it? We tried the double cheese burger (HK$118), and a side of fries and tater tots with ketchup. There’s also the option to add a cheese sauce, at an extra HK$20.
According to Bitters and Sweets, their patty is made of USDA prime beef, with mustard grilled into the patty (anyone else immediately think of In N’ Out’s animal-style burger here?). That’s served with slices of tomato, red onions, pickles, and melty American cheese.
As far as simple, no extra frills burgers goes, this was a pretty good one — juicy yet firm meat patties, with nice, crunchy pickles and onions to boost that beefy flavor.
If there was one thing we would have liked more of, it would have been more pickles. With two thick juicy patties, the sharpness of the pickle would have been a great balancing factor.
Although the Bitters and Sweets burger is an homage to an American institution, we wouldn’t have minded paying a bit extra to have, say, a slice of cheddar instead of the American cheese. But, to each his/her own, we guess.
The side of fries and tater tots were tasty enough to eat on their own. We would have given the cheese sauce dip a miss, though. If you do go for it, make sure you eat it quickly, while it’s still warm, because it begins to congeal when it cools down. We lived through this gut-wrenching pain, and you shouldn’t have to.
And lastly, it’s not an American diner-style burger without a milkshake, and playing up to Bitters and Sweets’ strength as a bar that serves quirky and fun cocktails were the milkshake cocktails.
We had the chocolate version, which was mixed with the bar’s homemade mint liqueur. Nice — not overly sweet, as the true American milkshake often is. The consistency is great, not too watery or too thick. It’s juuuust right.
The way that these boozy milkshakes are made, however — we warn you: They taste like drinkable desserts, and the alcohol is barely discernible on your tastebuds. Drink too many of these too quickly, and you will get drunk.
Overall, we’d recommend this new burger set, especially given the setting that it’s in — low-key, casually classy… a good place to pig out, the adult way.
Bitters and Sweets is at 1/F, 52-54 Wellington Street, Central
+852 2788 0103
MTR: Central, approx. 5 minute walk