Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

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[London] Beach Blanket Babylon

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Beach Blanket Babylon

Add: 45 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AA*
Tel: 020 7229 2907
Hours: 12pm~12am
Price: [cocktails] £9.50~14.50 [bar nibbles] £3.50~18
Visited on: Jan 2013

After an exhausting day of walking around in the cold rainy London weather, a cocktail or two by the cozy fireplaces at Beach Blanket Babylon was just what I needed. This restaurant/bar, housed in an old Georgian Mansion in Notting Hill, is lavishly Rococo – baroque candelabrum, gold statues, vases of towering floral arrangements. Drinks by the warm fire in an opulent setting like this – what more can one ask for on a winter evening?

*Second location in Shoreditch, check website for address.

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January 26th, 2013 at 5:31 pm

[Shanghai] Sunday Fried Chicken at The Public

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The Public

Add: Sinan Mansions, Block 2, 4/F, Lane 507 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Chongqing Lu / 复兴中路507弄2号楼4楼, 近重庆路
Tel: 3368 9419
Hours: [Wed-Sun] 6pm~late
Price: [food] 100~200 RMB/person [drinks] 65~80 RMB/cocktail
Visited: Jun 2012

I was so curious about The Public’s Sunday Fried Chicken that I came back within a week of my last visit. The fried chickens here have been garnering great reviews since their Apothecary days, and many diners – despite bashing the place for its strict rules and unsatisfactory service (both have been effectively remedied since the restaurant’s rebranding) – reluctantly admitted that the chickens are a hit.

Here it is, a glorious plate of Whey-Poached Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Biscuits & Coleslaw (half chix w/ 2 biscuits 125 RMB, whole chix w/ 4 biscuits 240 RMB). Free-range, organic chickens that grew up on honey-fermented grains are seasoned (they say it takes 24 hours), battered, then deep fried to a satisfying golden brown. Under the crackling crunch is fragrant, juicy, and tender meat filled with flavor.

On a separate plate came the coleslaw…

…and buttermilk biscuits, which weren’t too shabby, but the restaurant staff still assured us that they are working on the recipe and will soon come out with a leveled up version of these buttery goodness.

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February 28th, 2012 at 8:30 pm

[Shanghai] The Public

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The Public

Add: Sinan Mansions, Block 2, 4/F, Lane 507 Fuxing Zhong Lu / 复兴中路507弄2号楼4楼
Tel: 3368 9419
Hours: [Wed-Sun] 6:00pm~late
Price: 65~80 RMB/cocktail
Visited: Feb 2012

The Public, recently rebranded from The Apothecary, is a cocktail lounge in the Sinan Mansions neighborhood. It’s my preferred type of place where the music isn’t so loud – you can actually have a conversation. The drinks menu features fine cocktails that are hand-crafted from house-infused spirits and bitters, fresh juices, fruits and syrups, while the food menu lists an appealing selection of some all-time favorite comfort foods (think charcuterie and sweet potato fries)…and all held together by smooth and efficient service.

For those who are overwhelmed by the extensive drinks menu, take a look at their list of “Auspicious Eight”, an abridged collection of eight of The Public’s most popular cocktails.

Here are a few we sampled, starting with my favorite for the evening – The Kind (70 RMB): Ketel One vodka, grapefruit and lime juice, a tad of black pepper, cinnamon and lime syrups, house-made ginger beer, soda. “This Tiki-style Moscow Mule variation takes the too-easy original and pumps up the spice and fruit variables for a pungent, dry drink that’ll tickle your taste buds.”

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February 19th, 2012 at 9:52 am

[Taipei] Diary

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Address: 53 Dong Feng Street, Taipei / 台北市東豐街53號
Tel: (02) 2706 3553
Hours: 3:30pm~1:00am
Price: 600~1,000 NTD/person
Visited on: 2012-01-28

There is no signage outside of Diary, but the warm glow that exudes from its floor-to-ceiling glass storefront easily attract passerby. Walk in, and the buzz instantly envelopes you. It’s a stylish place filled with good-looking people having a very good time. They are sipping beautiful cocktails and nibbling off a menu that offers a snapshot of what young people in Taipei crave right now. The decor is industrial chic, with exposed concrete walls and roof beams, softened by the warmths of antique wooden tables and subdued lighting. Open kitchen, but of course.

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January 29th, 2012 at 9:40 pm

[Taipei] Fourplay Cuisine

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Fourplay Cuisine

Add: 67 Dongfeng Street, Taipei 台北市大安區東豐街67號
Tel: (02) 2708 3898
Hours: [Mon-Thu] 6pm-1am [Fri-Sat] 6pm-2am
Price: 250~450 NTD/drink
Visited: Oct 2011

I rarely blog about drinks, but the cocktails at Fourplay Cuisine are too fun to not write about. This recently-opened restaurant/lounge has no drinks menu – all you got to do is tell Allen the bartender what flavors you are in the mood of having, and he’ll fix it right up for you. To give you an idea of what to expect at Fourplay, here are a few drinks I tried on my visit. Not too many, just all 14 of them…starting with this lavender mojito (that’s a little tea bag on top).

Ruby heart: herb, strawberry, bitter orange.

Coffee liquor shot, with a marshmallow blazed in Absinthe.

Absinthe + sorghum liquor + honey + unknown fruit + rosemary, tastes surprisingly like white chocolate.

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October 18th, 2011 at 10:58 pm

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[Shanghai] Yucca

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Add: 3/F, 26F Sinan Mansions, 45 Sinan Lu, near Fuxing Lu 思南路45弄26F号3楼, 近复兴路
Tel: 3368 9525
Hours: 6pm onwards
Price: [drinks] 65~70 RMB [bar Bites] 60~70 RMB
Visited: May 2011

Please note that this is an arranged tasting.

Exactly as the pictures depict, Yucca is anything but subtle. This small cocktail lounge is dramatic with color blocks, geometric mosaic floor, bar stools in fuchsia and bright yellow, candelabras, Catholic crucifixes, and the likes. The decor is an attraction in itself, and when paired with house special cocktails and bar bites, Yucca makes for an ideal spot for those looking for a theatrical night.

From Yucca’s tequila-focused cocktail list, I chose the house special Mexican Mule (65 RMB), a playful variation of the Moscow Mule made with Sauza blanco tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice, passion fruit, NZ Manuka honey, cucumber, ginger beer.

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May 8th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

[Shanghai] Hof

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Add: 30 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu / 思南路30号, 近淮海中路
Tel: 6093 2058 / 6093 2052
Hours: [Tue-Thu] 11-12am, [Fri-Sun] 11-1am
Price: [cakes] ~35 RMB [cocktails] 55-88 RMB
Visited: Nov 2010

Chocolate. Chocolate mud cake. Orange chocolate mud cake. Orange chocolate mud cake with caramel. Orange chocolate mud cake with caramel and sea salt. Stop. This is it. This is THE ultimate combination you are looking for, and you can find it at Hof, a dessert and cocktail lounge on Sinan Lu.

But let’s back up and take a bird’s eye view of what Hof offers. First, the desserts, which are grouped into several categories: “Chocolate Temptations”, “Simplicity” (e.g. home-made yogurt with yuzu honey, rose-honey panna cotta with kumquat compote), and “Iced Treats, Gelato, & Sorbet”.

And of course there are chocolate truffles, which always garner easy ohhs and ahhs. At Hof, the most popular would be the original flavor – 72% Venezuela truffle, but try some of the more exotic creations like osmanthus, jasmine, or iced lychee martini white chocolate truffle. All soft and smooth, and each striking a high note on the different imbued flavors.

Most people come here for desserts, but there are also light sandwiches and pizzas for those who are hungry.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the orange chocolate mud cake with caramel and sea salt (35 RMB). Dense chocolate cake, buttery caramel glaze, orange confit, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Each element is a little bit of joy on its own, and together they make an absolutely irresistible combination. The cake is so rich that it actually does have a mud-like texture, while sea salt gave extra depth to the flavors.

I didn’t like the chocolate & caramel mouse cake (36 RMB) for its lack of texture variation, but liked the flavor and crunch of death by chocolate (35 RMB).

To avoid the wait, come at odd hours or make a reservation (on weekends, they only take reservations before 2pm). Or, you can check out other ventures by Brian Tan – House of Flour, C by House of Flour, and the newly opened Hof in Pudong DBS Tower.

By the way, Hof cupcakes can be custom-ordered for special occasions at 12~15RMB/piece. Click here for an updated review on Hof.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 14th, 2010 at 4:38 pm