Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Tokyo] Cobi Coffee

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Cobi Coffee

Add: 5-10-5 Minato, Minami Aoyama, Tokyo / 東京都港区南青山 5-10-5 第一九曜ビル 1F
Tel: +81-3-6427-3976
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 8am-8pm [Sat-Sun] 9am-8pm
Website: bloom-branch.jp/shop/aoyama
Price: coffee 450~750 yen
Visited: Oct 2016

Before we talk about Cobi Coffee, let’s take a look at Bloom & Branch, the select shop that houses the cafe. Bloom & Branch is a boutique with a curated selection of clothing and housewares, highlighting craftsmanship whether it’s a pair of jeans or a coffee cup. Curiously, it’s also got a shoe shine bar called  “The Bar by Brift H” installed right at the center of the boutique – very stylish.

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In the right corner of Bloom & Branch is Cobi Coffee, a sleek little cafe done in seasoned wood, aged brass, and copper. The seating arrangement is modeled after a Japanese tea room, where the host sits at the center and prepares tea in front of the guests. Cobi (古美) translates roughly to “beauty in age”, and this is reflected in many parts of the coffee shop, such as the beautiful copper pot and the ceramic cups in which coffee is served.

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The coffee is from Obscura Coffee Roasters, and though they offer espresso drinks, the pour-over coffee prepared through a cloth filter is what they most excel at.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 12th, 2016 at 10:37 am

[Tokyo] Yakumo Saryo 八雲茶寮

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Yakumo Saryo 八雲茶寮

Add: 3-4-7 Yakumo, Meguro Ku, Tokyo / 東京都目黒区八雲 3-4-7
Tel: +81-3-5731-1620
Hours: 9am-9pm
Website: yakumosaryo.jp
Price: tea 1,090~2,300 yen
Visited: Oct 2016

It took us a little while to find Yakumo Saryo. This restaurant, hidden inside a quiet residential neighborhood in Meguro, was about a 15-minute walk from the closest station Toritsu Daigaku. After some exploration and retracing of steps (even with Google Map), we arrived at the restaurant, which looked more like a private mansion with a large yard, all ensconced in shades of green. The calming ambience is immediately soothing, and all of our worldly worries seem to be left at the door.

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The founder of Yakumo Saryo is designer Shinichiro Ogata, whose design studio Simplicity has put together well-known interior design works throughout Japan, such as Aesop Shinsaibashi and Andaz Tokyo. His style inherits, preserves, and adapts traditional Japanese culture to contemporary designs, often merging the old and new to reveal a refreshing outlook on the traditions.

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At Yakumo Saryo, breakfast and lunch are by reservations, dinner is by invitation (from an existing member), while afternoon tea is open to walk-ins. The number of guests accepted is limited as they wish guests to enjoy the time with as few disturbances as possible; on the afternoon of our visit, there were only 2 or 3 other guests in the tea room.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 9th, 2016 at 2:34 am

[Tokyo] Cafe Kitsuné

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Cafe Kitsuné

Add: 3-17-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato Ku, Tokyo / 東京都港区南青山3-17-1
Tel: +81-3-5786-4842
Hours: 9am-8pm
Website: www.kitsune.fr
Price: coffee ~500 yen
Visited: Oct 2016

French music + fashion label Maison Kitsuné’s cafe in Paris used to be one of my go-to places with friends when I lived there – the outdoor seating under the green shades of Palais Royal is simply perfect on a nice day. But even before Paris, the first Cafe Kitsuné was actually opened in Tokyo back in 2013, located in the stylish Minami-Aoyama area. We explore.

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The entrance is not especially noticeable to the passerbys, though most people come looking for it specifically, so it’s difficult to miss. The Tokyo cafe was transformed from a Japanese house, and much of the traditional elements have been kept intact or reinforced, such as by installing tatami and fusumi sliding doors custom-made from a 70-year-old studio in Shimbashi.

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The baristas are all clad in Kitsuné fashion, and the music is likewise Kitsuné. The vibe is cool, and business is good – the space has always been filled during the few times I passed by, weekends or not.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 7th, 2016 at 2:21 pm

[Tokyo] Onibus Coffee

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Onibus Coffee

Add: 2-14-1 Kamimeguro, Meguro, Tokyo / 東京都 目黒区 上目黒 2-14-1
Tel: +81-3-6412-8683
Hours: 9am-6pm
Website: www.onibuscoffee.com
Price: coffee around 500 yen
Visited: Oct 2016

This time in Tokyo, I visited Nakameguro for the first time. This neighborhood might seem a bit too quiet for those looking for the typical hustle and bustle of Tokyo, but if you, like I, enjoy wandering along small alleyways to discover the everyday life of the locals, you might really like this residential area.

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And my reason for visiting Nakameguro was Onibus, a coffee shop and roaster sandwiched between a small park and train tracks. Its founder Sakao Atsushi, an architect-turned-barista, has been attracting coffee lovers from all over the world since he opened his first shop in Okusawa a few years ago, and he named the shop “Onibus” (which means public bus in Portuguese) for exactly this reason – to connect people via coffee.

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The shop offers espresso-based coffee brewed on a La Marzocco Linea PB, as well as drip coffee done with Hario V60s. For drip coffee, four choices of coffee beans are available: Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, and Guatemala. I went with the first.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 6th, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Posted in tokyo

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[Beijing] Duck de Chine 全鴨季

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1949 Duck de Chine 全鴨季

Add: Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu, Beijng / 北京市工體北路4號院
Tel: 6501 8881
Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm
Price: [lunch] 150+ RMB/person [dinner] 400 RMB+/person
Visited: Sep 2016

It goes without saying that when in Beijing, one must have a proper Peking duck meal…but how does one choose among the plethora of restaurants offering this classic delicacy? I also hesitated – should I go to Quan Ju De, an institution for Peking ducks in Beijing, or Da Dong, best known for its modern and fusion twists? In the end, I chose Duck de Chine, which doesn’t only serve some of the best ducks in town, but is also more stylish in terms of decor, making it a popular spot among locals and expats alike.

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First, a selection of condiments for the roast duck (10 RMB/person).

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Here it is, 全鴨季烤鴨 Duck de Chine (268 RMB), carved table-side.

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Written by sugarednspiced

October 14th, 2016 at 4:34 am

[Beijing] Country Kitchen 鄉味小廚

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Country Kitchen

Add: 3/F, Rosewood Beijing, Jingguang Centre, Hujialou / 呼家樓京廣中心北京瑰麗酒店1層
Tel: 6597 8888
Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm
Website: www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/beijing/dining
Price: 300-350 RMB/person
Visited: Sep 2016

Hotel restaurants can often be boring, but that’s not the case for Country Kitchen at the Rosewood Hotel in Beijing. Equipped with an open show kitchen and a wood-roasting oven, this rustically stylish restaurant features a wide array of Northern Chinese specialties – a modern tribute to traditional Chinese dining in a sophisticated yet casual setting.

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In terms of interior, the materials of choice are granite, wood, soft red tones, terracotta and oil paintings – specifically chosen to reconstruct the charm and simplicity of a village restaurant.

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Written by sugarednspiced

October 14th, 2016 at 2:42 am

[Beijing] Mizu 花治植物美學研究室

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Mizu 花治植物美學實驗室

Add: No. 25 Jianchang Hutong, Guozijian, Beijing / 北京國子監箭廠胡同25號
Tel: 18910498961
Hours: 11am-7:30pm
Visited: Sep 2016

In the same alley as the beautiful Yuan Gu is Mizu Lab, a cute little plant shop in a world of its own. The Chinese name is “花治”, which literally means “flower therapy”, as an appreciation for the healing effect of flowers, or plants in general. The space is small and stylish, and somehow reminds me of a corner of Le Comptoir Général back in Paris.

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Other than plants, they also offer some plant-based products collected from all over the world.

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October 13th, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Posted in beijing

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[Beijing] Fnji Furniture 梵几客廳

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Fnji Furniture 梵几客廳

Add: No. 41 Guozijian Street, Beijing / 北京國子監街41號
Tel: 010-5367 2899
Hours: 11am-5:30pm (closed on Mon)
Website: www.fnji.com
Price: drinks 40 RMB+, desserts 35 RMB+
Visited: Sep 2016

Bejing-based Fnji (pronoused “Fanji”) is a furniture brand founded by Chinese industrial designer Gu Qigao in 2000. His pieces, all handmade from wood, make use of the Chinese mortise and tenon joint structure, with designs that bridge between modern and traditional aesthetics. His aspiration? To make furnitures that “age alongside its owners, gaining more character over time as it is passed from one generation to the next”. I visited his showroom in Guozijian and fell head over heels for this beautiful space – it also doesn’t hurt that they have an stylish cafe and a serene courtyard nestled in the back…

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The boutique showcases designs from both China and Japan, as well as works from Gu himself. The style is simple, stylish, decidedly Asian but with a modern western vibe. No photos are allowed in the showroom so you can either visit yourself and check out their designs online. For now, let’s move over to the cafe. It was very busy when I visited on a Sunday afternoon, and I was fortunate to find the last empty seats in the courtyard.

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Written by sugarednspiced

October 12th, 2016 at 11:42 am

[Beijing] 元古本店 Yuan Gu

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元古本店

Add: No 34, Jianchang Hutong, Beijing / 北京箭廠胡同34號
Tel: 010-5728 7950
Hours: 12:30-8:30pm
Price: desserts 35 RMB+, tea 30 RMB+
Visited: Sep 2016

A few steps away from the popular Wudaoying Hutong where Metal Hands is located, there is a quieter alley called Jianchang Hutong. Here, away from the hustle and bustle, you will find Yuan Gu (元古本店), a beautiful space dedicated to showcase a few simple good things in life – handcrafted glassware and ceramics, Chinese tea and tea desserts, to name a few.

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The look is clean – white walls, wooden furniture, and a few plants dotting the space. The tables and chairs are all designed especially for Yuan Gu.

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Written by sugarednspiced

October 12th, 2016 at 10:30 am

[Beijing] Metal Hands

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Metal Hands

Add: No. 61 Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing / 北京東城區五道營胡同61號
Tel: 15510533895
Hours: 9am-9pm
Price: coffee 26 RMB+
Visited: Sep 2016

Another cafe worth recommending in Beijing is Metal Hands. Just opened this July, this little coffee shop is settled in the busy Wudaoying Hutong, not far from Barista Coffee Roasters. Mr. Ding, the owner of the cafe, has apparently been in the China coffee scene for over 10 years, and is one of the first to dedicate his time to latte art (though he wasn’t in the shop on the day of my visit).

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Metal Hands is not big. The elongated space includes a bar on the right, some seats on the left, and an inner corner with skylight. Concrete walls, wooden furniture, and fresh flowers for decoration. It’s not spacious by any means, but quite comfortable nonetheless.

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Written by sugarednspiced

October 11th, 2016 at 7:14 am