Cafe culture

Whether for a brunch gathering, quick lunch or quiet relaxation after office hours a cafe is always the easiest option.

In the heart of Causeway Bay, The Alp – inspired by Nagano or the “Japanese Alps” – has a lodge-style design that has a comforting vibe.

Specializing in brunch, the menu features some mainstream items reinterpreted by the Nepalese-born and Italian-trained chef with a Japanese twist, such as the scattered soba bowl (HK$118), which comprises wholesome ingredients sourced from Nagano.

Other must-try dishes include beef mountain donburi (HK$118), beef sando (HK$108) and crispy buttermilk drumsticks (HK$128).

The izakaya-style snacks – yuzu honey-glazed chicken wings and charcoal-grilled yakitori skewers (HK$78 each) – are just as fascinating. The chicken wings are made with a secret recipe of perfectly balanced yuzu-honey sauce, while the yakitori comes in various pork and chicken cuts, all marinated with sake and custom-made spices.

Delicacies aside, the drinks list is hard to ignore. It covers house blends, cold brews and hand drip coffee, all using beans from Guatemala and Brazil, with a tint of red sugar, chocolate and citrus.

The cafe also shakes it up with seasonal single-origin beans for advanced coffee lovers to further explore. Non-coffee drinkers should not miss the chai latte (HK$45) and mint cucumber soda (HK$38).

Caffeine not strong enough for you? Local gin label Perfume Trees Gin has launched its first concept cafe bar, Tanky Distillery, at The Mills in Tsuen Wan, with a Zen-inspired interior design and drinks list.

Various creative cocktails use Perfume Trees Gin, coffee, tea and cannabidiol. The Wind of the Mountain is a sweet blend of Perfume Trees Gin, yellow and green chartreuse, Lustau Fino sherry and CBD drops, while Garden is a refreshing mix of Ceder’s Classic, cold brew, Teisseire rose syrup and CBD.

If you want some refreshments during your stressful workdays or a little party in the office, the Dominique Ansel pop-up shop at the IFC mall has got you covered.

Feeling excited about the first location at the island side, Ansel said: “In these challenging times, it’s wonderful to have something to celebrate.

“In the past year of being in Hong Kong, I’m so proud of our team for the quality and consistency and their continued creativity. We are all looking forward to crossing the harbor to Central.”

Off-the-menu items will be available exclusively at the grab-and-go concept, including a specialty bottled cold brew made by Coco Espresso.

Classic French viennoiserie ranging from flaky croissants and pain au chocolat to the signature DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann) are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast. Some pastries inspired by local tradition and ingredients are also pleasing to the eye, such as the passionfruit pineapple bun and lemon juice box cake.

These days, not everyone goes all the way to offices in Central anymore. To cater to the work-from-home crowd, Starbucks has opened a new concept store at The Lohas mall.

Having opened on the first day of the Year of Ox, the store is the only Starbucks in Hong Kong with a bakery. Guests can enjoy 10 exclusive pastries and desserts freshly made every few hours.

Nobody can say no to cheese and the most pleasing creations are the cheese-filled croissant and onion and cheese twist.

The pizza twist – one item fulfilling two cravings – has tomatoes, Emmental cheese and mushroom as well as black olives inside and tastes like a lighter version of the Italian staple.

If you are a more health-driven person, the country-style croissant will surprise you without a compromise on butter.

Three desserts, especially the passionfruit and mango tart, perfectly match the brand’s seasonal drinks, including sakura blossom strawberry frappuccino and strawberry tea, available at all Starbucks stores.

(This article was published at The Standard on February 26, 2021: Weekend Glitz: Cafe culture )

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