Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Hong Kong] Toritama 酉玉

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酉玉 Toritama

Add: G/F, 2 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong / 香港中環中環己連拿利2號
Tel: +852 2388 7717
Hours: 6pm-12am (closed on Sun)
Website: www.toritama.hk
Price: 人均400+港币
Visited: Aug 2016

Tokyo’s Toritama, famous for going beyond the standard chicken skewers with its “beak-to-tail” experience, has settled in Hong Kong on Glenealy. Grill master Hironobu Matsumoto from Japan mans the Hong Kong outpost, bringing his expertise of chicken heart, esophagus, soft chest bone, and gizzard skin (etc. etc.) with him…but first, the meal begins with a selection of homemade pickles, and a small dish of grated daikon topped with a raw quail egg to be eaten on its own, or used as an accompaniment for the skewers.

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The original Tokyo shop offers over 30 different parts of the chicken, while the Hong Kong outpost does around 24. On the menu there is a handy diagram indicating each of these parts, I was surprised to see that even the tiny chicken butt is divided into three different sections…wow.

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Toritama uses local free-range chickens for its skewers (all except for the chicken butts), and as each chicken part has its distinct flavor and texture, the grill master uses different seasonings (including a 15-year-old sauce brought in from Tokyo) and grilling techniques to bring out the best of each.

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At Toritama, you can either go a la carte or choose from one of the sets – tori (7 skewers, 388 HKD), tama (10 skewers, 388 HKD), and omakase (12 skewers + rice + soup + ice-cream, 588 HKD). We went for the 7-skewer Tori set, and tagged on a few a la carte items at the end.

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Written by sugarednspiced

September 26th, 2016 at 11:49 am

[Hong Kong] Mott 32 卅二公館

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卅二公馆 Mott 32

Add: 4-4a Des Voeux Rd, Basement of the Standard Chartered Building, Hong Kong
香港中环德辅道中4-4A号渣打银行
Tel: +852 2885 8688
Hours: 12-2pm, 6-11pm
Website: www.mott32.com
Price: [lunch] 350+ HKD/person
Visited: Aug 2016

You wouldn’t expect a fine dining restaurant to be located in the basement of a bank building, but such is the case for Mott 32. This sleek Chinese restaurant, named after New York’s first Chinese grocery store, is tucked all the way down in the basement of the Standard Chartered Building in Central – yet it attracts a steady crowd with its captivating interior design and delectable cuisine.

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The design style is a fusion of New York industrial style with Chinese elements, from the calligraphy on the exposed concrete walls to the Chinese medicine cabinets adorning the bar area.

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In terms of cuisine, Mott 32’s offering ranges from barbecued meats and seafood to clay pot dishes, while the lunch menu is mostly dim sum-based.

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Written by sugarednspiced

September 23rd, 2016 at 3:40 pm

[Hong Kong] Teakha 茶。家

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Teakha 茶。家

Add: 18 Tai Ping Shan St, Hong Kong / 香港上环苏豪太平山街18号B舖
Tel: +852 2858 9185
Hours: 11am-7pm (closed on Mon)
Website: teakha.com
Price: [tea] 40~65/HKD [pastries] 40-50 HKD
Visited: Aug 2016

Hidden in an inner corner of Tai Ping Shan Street is Teakha, a tea house founded by Nana Chan, a Taiwan-born, Hong Kong-raised, and London-educated lawyer-turned-tea shop owner. Her concept, excerpted below, is lovely:

“In many cultures all over the world, tea is the mechanism at which we welcome people into our homes or start a conversation with strangers. Here at teakha, we too believe that tea is a window to opening our hearts. Through this window, we welcome you into our “home”, to experience a lifestyle that is in touch with our community and our environment. One that values the little joys in life as homemade cakes, the sound of music lingering in a back alley, or ever so basically, the forgotten art of talking to our neighbors.”

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On the tea menu, there’s Indian marsala chai tea, Taiwanese Oolong tea, Japanese matcha, etc. – all single-origin teas sourced by teakha’s sister company Planation directly from small tea plantations.

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There are also some simple pastries, the most popular being the matcha cheesecake.

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Beautiful colors.

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September 23rd, 2016 at 7:55 am

Posted in hong kong

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[Hong Kong] J. Boroski

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J. Boroski

Add: I’m not allowed to say
Tel: +852 2603 6020
Hours: 7pm-late
Price: 100-200 HKD/cocktail
Visited: Aug 2016

In Hong Kong, the hottest place to be sipping cocktails right now is undoubtedly J. Boroski. This hidden bar, just opened a few weeks ago, is tucked away in a small alleyway somewhere in Central (exact location not to be disclosed) and is invitation-only for those in the know – for now.

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This, as well as the original J. Boroski in Bangkok, is a collaboration between mixologist Joseph Boroski and interior designer Ashley Sutton. Other than the wildly successful J. Boroski, Sutton has designed quite a few other well-known bars in Bangkok, such as Maggie Choo’s and Iron Fairies, as well as Ophelia which recently opened in Hong Kong.

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September 23rd, 2016 at 5:34 am

[Hong Kong] Elephant Grounds

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Elephant Grounds (Wanchai)

Add: 8 Wing Fung St. Wan Chai / 香港灣仔永豐街8號
Tel: +852 2778 2700
Hours: 8am-10pm
Website: www.elephantgrounds.com
Price: [coffee] 30-68 HKD
Visited: Aug 2016

Occupying this much coveted corner location on Wing Fung Street is Elephant Grounds, a coffee roaster local to Hong Kong. The open store front and warm wooden tones are immediately welcoming, and the interior is equally pleasant with handcrafted furniture by Start from Zero and a custom-made moss wall installation by local plant artist Quest Terrarium. Coffee, anyone?

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There is even a bowl of water for pets at the front, how thoughtful.

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September 16th, 2016 at 9:09 am

[Hong Kong] Omotesando Koffee

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Omotesando Koffee

Add: 24-25,G/F.,Lee Tung St ,Wanchai, Hong Kong / 香港灣仔利東街G24-25號舖
Tel: +852 2601 3323
Hours: [weekday] 8am-8pm [weekend] 9am-9pm
Website: www.ooo-koffee.com/hongkong.html
Price: [coffee] 40~60 HKD [sweets] 18+ HKD
Visited: Aug 2016

Omotesando Koffee started out as a pop-up shop in Tokyo’s Omotesando district, situated in a tiny, traditional Japanese home. It became famed for its espressos and cube-shaped designs – logo, work station, and even pastries are cube-shaped – that it eventually stayed for 5 years, until the building became too old to sustain the shop. Cafe owner Eiichi Kunimoto then moved it to Toranomon Koffee in Tokyo’s Toranomon Hills, before he expanded to a second Omotesando Koffee in Hong Kong.

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The charming surroundings of an old Japanese residential building cannot be replicated in Hong Kong’s Lee Tung Avanue, but just about everything else has been carried over, including Omotesando Koffee’s signature cube design as you can see below.

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Beans are sourced from the same roaster in Tokyo, and Japanese staff members have been stationed in Hong Kong to ensure the same quality of coffee is served. Omotesando features two house blends, one is a mix of Ethiopian, Brazilian and Indonesian beans with a balanced flavor, and the second is a fruitier blend of Guatemalan and Panama beans.

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September 16th, 2016 at 4:07 am

[Hong Kong] Grassroots Pantry

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Grassroots Pantry

Add: 108 Hollywood Road, Shengwan, Hong Kong / 香港上環荷李活道108號
Tel: +852 2873 3353
Hours: 9am-10:30pm
Website: www.grassrootspantry.com
Price: 150~250 HKD/person
Visited: Aug 2016

My first meal in Hong Kong this time was at Grassroots Pantry, a vegetarian restaurant with one core philosophy: “to create food that heals with the highest culinary standards and using the freshest, most nutrient-dense of sustainable, plant-based ingredients.” That reads like a mouthful, but what it’s basically saying, is that they make healthy food that tastes amazing. And it’s true.

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First, the design. Grassroots Pantry’s interior is bright and airy thanks to the large windows and a lofted ceiling. The combination of light grey cement wall and warm orange couches is lovely, and the plants adorning the space is more than welcome. Above the bar suspends a selection of gorgeous decanter lights from Lee Broom – a personal favorite.

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Word has it that Grassroots Pantry was the first shop in Hong Kong to use acai berry, and their recipes are laden with nutrition-packed ingredients like flaxseed, buckwheat, kohlrabi, cashews, chickpeas, and the likes. They promote “raw foodism”, which is about eating unprocessed and uncooked foods. The cooking process involves sprouting, soaking, fermentation, pickling, dehydration, etc., which is a time-consuming process, all aiming to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients in the food.

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September 15th, 2016 at 11:34 am

[Hong Kong] The Upper House 奕居

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The Upper House 奕居

Add: Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2918 1838
Website: www.upperhouse.com
Price: from 5,000 HKD/night
Visited: Aug 2016

Please note that this was a complimentary stay arranged by the hotel.

It’s been a while since I last went to Hong Kong, so I couldn’t help but feel a little excited on my flight over – especially knowing that I will be staying at The Upper House. I have heard so much about this hotel and was already quite charmed by it after a lovely lunch at Cafe Gray Deluxe five years ago, so naturally I was looking forward to the stay. 4 days and 3 evenings after, I’m a believer. Let’s see how the experience unfolded.

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It all started at the airport. Thanks to The Upper House’s limousine service, I didn’t have to wait in the long queue for taxi. I hopped on a Lexus Hibrid (Mercedes also available) and 40 minutes later I was at the hotel. Smooth.

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The hotel sits on top of Pacific Place, a glossy shopping complex at Admiralty, which is one stop from the Central business district and one stop (across the harbor) from Tsim Sha Tsui, and also within walking distance to Wanchai. Perfect location.

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The hotel entrance is cocooned inside a thick wall, entitled “Stone Curtain” by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, a understated yet solid facade that separates the hotel from the outside world. As The Upper House is renovated from an apartment building, its design is unlike that of a traditional five-star hotel – there is no grand lobby, but instead, it feels more like a (very stylish) home. At the reception, hotel service staff are all smiles and know the guests by name.

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September 8th, 2016 at 9:00 am

[Kyoto] Bar Bunkyu バー文久

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Bar Bunkyu バー文久 

Add: KawaramachiSanjo, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto京都市中京区河原町三条上ル二筋目東入ル
Tel: 075-211-1982
Hours: 6pm~ (closed on Thu))
Price: ~1000 yen/drink
Visited: Aug 2016

After dinner, we made our way to Bunkyu, a bar hidden in one of the alleyways of the Kawaramachi district.

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Upon passing through the sliding door, I was surprised to find how small the bar is. Under the dim lighting, I could roughly see a roundish square wooden bar top that seats no more than 9, and we were lucky to take up the last few empty spots.

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The bartender in charge here is Nao, a friendly guy who’s fun to chat with, and very generous in sharing his knowledge of Kyoto and beyond (he recommended a few places for us in Arashiyama which we ended up visiting, and all were excellent).

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And isn’t this little red-robed man a cutie? Nao mentioned that it’s a hobby of the bar owner to collect these dolls.

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August 31st, 2016 at 2:25 am

Posted in kyoto

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[Kyoto] Kasagiya かさぎ屋

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かさぎ屋 Kasagiya

Add: 349 Masuyacho Higashiyamaku, Kyoto / 京都府京都市東山区桝屋町349
Tel: 075-561-9562
Hours: 11am – 6pm
Price: 500-800 yen
Visited: Aug 2016

かさぎ屋 Kasagiya is a famous traditional Japanese dessert shop in Kyoto, but most people who don’t come looking for it would probably miss its low-key facade, tucked away in a corner on the Ninzenzaka. I overslept from my afternoon nap (oops) and by the time I reached there, it was only 10 minutes before their closing time (oh no!). I popped my head in as most of the guests were just leaving, giving the shop owner an apologetic look and inquired whether they were still serving. He seemed slightly hesitant initially, but seeing that I was alone (and obviously very eager), he gave an approving nod and ushered me in. Yesss.

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Kasagiya was established in 1914, and for over a hundred years it’s been known for its artisanal, delicate Kyoto specialty desserts. The space is small, just enough to accommodate about 20 guests, and the nostalgic charm oozing out from every corner is quite mesmerizing.

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Kasagiya is especially famed for its adzuki beans, cooked fresh everyday for over 3 hours in the traditional method until the beans are perfectly soft without losing its shape. The two desserts incorporating adzuki beans – the botamochi (made with sweet rice and sweet adzuki paste) and the Kyoto zenzai (adzuki bean soup with roasted mochi) seem to be the two most popular choices.

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Written by sugarednspiced

August 30th, 2016 at 2:10 am