It’s the end of a chapter for Second Draft, the one-of-a-kind gastropub that has been part of the Tai Hang community since it opened in 2016. On 12 January, the team announced over social media that they would be shutting their doors on 11 February 2022—not because of the pandemic, or for other plans, but because their lease would not be renewed by their landlord, Little Tai Hang.
It’s a disappointing decision considering how much of an impact Second Draft has had on the local community—it’s a place that championed local traditions and talent, with a refreshingly inventive menu anchored in Hong Kong flavours, and one of the best craft beer programmes in the city. The original menu concept was developed by May Chow of Little Bao, who described Second Draft at the time as “an opportunity for our own self-discovery, to learn new techniques and ingredients.” That meant putting things on the menu like squid ink croquettes with the umami funk of dried oysters; flower crab pasta that’s tossed with splashes of sweet ginger vinegar, or the now-iconic mapo burrata. Personally, I’ll miss a lot of the dishes here, not least the most addictive cumin- and chilli-spiked Tai Hang fries with generous sprinkling of preserved mustard greens—the perfect umami-packed accompaniment to many of the fresh brews on tap.