Sugared & Spiced

paris, pâtissière in training

[PHUKET] Sri Panwa

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Sri Panwa

Add: 88 Moo 8 Sakdidej Rd., Tambon Vichit, Phuket 83000
Tel: + 667 637 1000
Website: www.sripanwa.com
Email: chill@sripanwa.com
Price: [pool suite] 22,400 THB/night ~ [5-bedroom villa] 188,000 THB/night
Visited: Feb 2015

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

So the reason of my Phuket trip was actually to attend one of my best friends’ wedding. The big day took place at Sri Panwa, a breathtakingly beautiful resort perched on the island’s southeastern coast. I saw the below photo (courtesy of the resort) on my friend’s wedding website, and needless to say that I was in love with this place before I even set foot in it. Dotted amidst the coastal forest, Sri Panwa offers a seductive collection of 52 villas, each with a glass-boxed bedroom that extends right into private infinity pools. A few of the villas, such as Villa 11 where the wedding couple was staying at, boasts an uninterrupted 300° views of the Andaman Sea. There are of course private beach, spa, pool, club, cooking school, games room, gym, tennis courts, jogging and biking trails, yacht fleet, library, free WiFi, limousine service…

baba nestPhoto credit: Sri Panwa

But let’s take a step back and start from the check in. We arrived at Sri Panwa on wedding rehearsal day, and everything was so pretty that we didn’t know where to look first. From the varying shades of blue to the lush, tropical green, every angle was picture-perfect.

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At the reception, we were offered a welcome drink to freshen up from the perpetual Phuket heat and humidity.

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Then, a buggy escorted us to our villa, tugged quietly in this secluded surrounding.

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We stayed at Sri Panwa’s one bedroom luxury pool villa (37,400 THB/night), which is about 260 sqm in size with its own infinity swimming pool, jet stream Jacuzzi system, outdoor rain shower, steam room, ocean view pavilion, and ultra spacious bedroom and bathroom. There are also smaller options, such as the pool suite (100 sqm, 16,800 THB/night), mega options like the 5-bedroom pool villa (2,000 sqm, 188,000 THB/night), as well as residence villas for sale if that’s something you are considering…not in my budget, alas.

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March 14th, 2015 at 12:01 pm

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[PHUKET] Kata Rocks

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Kata Rocks

Add: 86/22 Koktanode Road, Kata Beach, Phuket 83100
Tel: +66 (0)76 370 797
Website: www.katarocks.com
Email: reservations@katarocks.com
Price: [one bedroom] 41,545 THB/night ~ [four bedroom] 118,700 THB/night
Visited: Feb 2015

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

When I was checking in at Kata Rocks, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Sure, I had seen photos and videos of this luxury six-star resort prior to my arrival, but none of these really meant much until I actually jumped into the private infinity pool on the terrace of my 175-sqm villa. Soaking up an unobstructed view of the Andaman Sea and watching the sky change in shade as the sun goes down – this has got to be one of the best moments I’ve had in a while.

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The resort, a project by lifestyle design group Infinite Luxury, is located near Kata Beach on the western coast of Phuket. Its setup ensures that all 34 of their villas have private pools with sunset views – no, not a bad idea at all if you ask me. Other facilities include oceanfront restaurant & bar, infinite luxury spa, cutting edge fitness room (which was later referred to me as “the best gym on this island” by the general manager of another luxury resort in Phuket”, library/lounge and function rooms…all very attractive, though I was happy in the pool and not ready to leave anytime soon.

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March 12th, 2015 at 7:56 am

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[TAIPEI] Qing Tian 76 青田七六

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Qing Tian 76 青田七六

Add: No. 6, Lane 7, Qing Tian Street, Taipei / 台北市青田街7巷6號
Tel: (02) 2391 6676
Hours: [lunch] 11:30am-2pm [afternoon tea] 2:30-5:00pm [dinner] 5:30-9pm
Website: qingtian76.tw
Price: 350 NTD/tea set (a la carte available)
Visited: Feb 2015

A tea house renovated from an historical building, located in the quaint neighborhood of Qing Tian Street. Did not try the savories, but the coffee, tea, and pastries here are all quite lovely.

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We were seated in the sunroom area, which is bright with plenty of natural light. Additional indoor and outdoor space also available, the indoor space is especially appropriate for those with kids as the little ones are free to crawl around on the wooden floors.

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青田洋菓子套餐 (350 NTD), Qing Tian Western Set, which includes 和三盆糖蛋糕 (rolled cake made from refined Japanese sugar), 凍生巧克力 (nama chocolate), and 翠之華 (green tea latte).

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February 25th, 2015 at 7:31 am

[TAIPEI] WUnique Pâtisserie 無二烘培

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WUnique Pâtisserie 無二烘培

Add: 台北市安和路二段184巷10號 / 10, Lane 184, An He Road, Taipei
Tel: (02) 2737 1707
Hours: [Thu-Mon] 12-7pm (closed Tue & Wed)
Price: 150-180 NTD/pastry
Visited: Feb 2015

WUnique is a small pastry boutique that sprouted in Taipei just a few months ago, in September 2014. I met the owner/pastry chef Tim Wu back in Paris at Ferrandi – we did not overlap as I had already graduated by the time he enrolled, but I had heard from my chef that Tim is a talented young man who’s quick at learning. After 5 months of pastry classes followed by a 6-month internship at Ledoyen, a prestigious Michelin three star restaurant in Paris, Tim came back to Taipei to set up his own pastry studio. He started alone, soon joined by his finacée Winnie (whom he met at Ferrandi), and they are now a total of four in the kitchen. Here are some snapshots from their early mornings.

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Kouign-Amann in the making. This specialty from Brittany is made from croissant dough folded with layers of butter and sugar, you can imagine how good it smells when these are in the oven…

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February 25th, 2015 at 6:12 am

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[TAIPEI] Sushi Jubei 鮨十兵衛

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Sushi Jubei 鮨十兵衛

Add: 5, Lane 23, Section 2, Anhe Road, Taipei /  台北市安和路2段23巷5號
Tel: (02) 2703 7226
Hours: [Tue-Sun] 11:30am-9pm (closed on Mon)
Price: [lunch] 1500-3000 NTD [dinner] 2500-5000 NTD
Visited: Feb 2015

12-seat sushi bar by Shawn 蔡孝文, previously of Sushi Nomura 野村壽司.

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Lunch sets are priced at 1500, 2000, or 2500 NTD. We chose the 1500 NTD set, which began with this katsuo no tataki, grilled skipjack tuna.

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Ika (squid).

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February 23rd, 2015 at 3:06 am

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[TAIPEI] Fujin Tree Taiwanese Cuisine & Champagne 富錦樹台菜香檳

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Fujin Tree Taiwanese Cuisine & Champagne 富錦樹台菜香檳

Add: 1F 17, Lane 199, Dun Hua South Road, Taipei / 台北市敦化北路199巷17號1樓
Tel: (02) 8712-8770
Hours: [Tue-Sun] 6-10pm (closed on Mon)
Price: [dishes] 350-1500 NTD [champagne] 450-600 NTD/glass, 2500-2980 NTD/bottle
Website: www.fujintreegroup.com
Visited: Feb 2015

“Fujin Tree Taiwanese Cuisine & Champagne” is the newest establishment by Fujin Tree Group, the folks behind a row of popular cafes and boutiques in the Fujin Road vicinity. The name itself is intriguing, for Taiwanese food + champagne is not an usual combination. The aim is to create a place where one can enjoy Taiwanese cuisine without the frenzy of a typical local restaurant, so they’ve put together a stylish dining room and installed a few bottles of champagne in there to up the game.

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The interior design is rather interesting with 14 unique dried plants hanging from the ceiling, designed by 李霽 Joshua Lee. I imagine the vibe to be even more alive during the day, with natural light streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling windows. 

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February 18th, 2015 at 2:51 am

[TAIPEI] Kajitsu 菓實

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Kajitsu 菓實

Add: 2F., No.128, Kangding Rd., Taipei / 台北市康定路128號2樓
Tel: 0978870653
Hours: Wed-Sun 12-9pm
Website: pojowowo.blogspot.tw
Price: details here.
Visited: Feb 2015

Two months ago back in Paris, I was home after another long and exhausting day in the kitchen. As usual, I was mindlessly going through my Facebook feed (not the best thing to do before going to bed but it does loosen me up after an intense dinner service), and a page called “菓實 Kajitsu” caught my attention. I started browsing through their beautiful pastry photos paired with down-to-earth writings, and was immediately charmed. I decided that I need to visit this place when I’m in Taipei.

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So here I am, two months later, in Kajitsu’s homey and cozy pastry studio located in an apartment building of Wanhua district, a very old neighborhood in Taipei City. I met the couple behind Kajitsu, Abby and Evan, who welcomed me with hot tea and freshly baked pastries. Abby is the pastry chef and Evan, an industrial designer by trade, takes care of the marketing part of the business, including photography and graphic designs.

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Abby didn’t start young as a pastry chef. She was a psychology major in university and worked as a Japanese translator briefly after graduation, before she decided to start her pastry career as an apprentice for Japanese pastry chef Tadashi Yanagi (柳正司). She then spent a year at Boîte de Bijoux before launching her own studio in October 2014, where she could have more freedom in both ingredient choice and product design. They purposefully chose Wanhua, where the rent is much lower than in the hotter areas of Taipei, so the extra money can be spent on quality ingredients such as imported Isigny butter from France and Nisshin flour from Japan.

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February 17th, 2015 at 3:50 am

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[TAIPEI] Light One Cafe 光一咖啡

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Light One Cafe 光一咖啡

Add: 2F, 1-4 Lane 20, Section 2, Zhong Shan North Road, Taipei / 台北市中山北路2段20巷1-4號2樓
Tel: (02) 2531 0131
Hours: 12-9pm
Price: 140-200 NTD/coffee
Visited: Feb 2015

A cafe renovated from an old apartment, with giant windows that let in plenty of light and shades of green from outside. A pleasant space to sip on a cup of coffee.

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February 14th, 2015 at 2:11 pm

[TAIPEI] The Tasting Room 啜飲室

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The Tasting Room 啜飲室

Add: 14, Alley 5, Lane 107, Section 1 Fu Xing South Road, Taipei / 台北市復興南路一段107巷5弄14號
Tel: (02) 8773 9001
Hours: 5pm-midnight
Price: 100-250 NTD/beer
Visited: Feb 2015

啜飲室 The Tasting Room opened just shy of one month ago in a quiet lane of Fu Xing South Road. What it is: a beer bar that features a selection of some 20 craft brews from around the world, and a gallery that showcases local Taiwanese art. The design is simple but stylish – it’s one big open space with a shiny beer bar on the left, communal tables at the center and back, and a few smaller tables on the right. Warm woods, soft lighting, and jazzy piano in the air. It’s a charming space, a love a first sight for me.

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The menu is written on the blackboard right above the bar, and if the names don’t tell you much, the friendly bartenders will. As it was my first visit, they made a few recommendations and let me try a small dose of each before choosing. The prices are very affordable – a glass of beer ranges from 100-250 NTD – making this a easy place to frequent without breaking the bank. For now there is no food on the menu, though I heard talks about 滷味 (Taiwanese braised snack foods) for the future.

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February 14th, 2015 at 12:02 am

[SHANGHAI] Shangxi 尚席

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Shangxi at Four Seasons Pudong 浦東四季酒店 尚席

Add: 2F Four Seasons Pudong, 210 Century Avenue / 世纪大道210号四季酒店2楼, 近浦城路
Tel: 2036 8888
Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm
Website: www.fourseasons.com/pudong
Price: 400-600 RMB/person
Visited: Feb 2015

Please note that this is an invited tasting.

Among the few hotels that have opened since I left Shanghai in 2012, Four Seasons Pudong is one that I heard quite frequently about. Compared to its Puxi sibling, Four Seasons Pudong is much smaller in scale, more modern in design, and more exclusive in vibe. I visited on a Saturday to try Shangxi, the hotel’s Chinese restaurant famed for its dim sum lunch, and was charmed by both the elegant ambience and the delicate dishes.

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With only 22 seats in its main hall, Shangxi is probably the smallest hotel-owned Chinese restaurant I’ve been to (additional private rooms available). The atmosphere is exceedingly calm, with tables spaced at a comfortable distance from one another. A great place for private tête-à-têtes.

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February 12th, 2015 at 3:55 pm