By Gavin Yeung
February 05, 2021
New cafes, collaborations and cocktails to explore this week
With social distancing restrictions and the ban on nighttime dine-in services extended beyond the Chinese New Year holiday until at least 17 February 2021, the hospitality industry continues to find creative ways to thrive and survive these tough times. Indeed, life continues apace with new openings, launches and collaborations in the lead-up to the Year of the Ox.
The city’s seemingly exponential increase in caffeine suppliers proceeds unabated this week. Find the latest below:
Brew Note Coffee
North Point fixture Brew Note unveiled its new look, a sophisticated evolution of the original wood and concrete theme that draws heavily from Showa-era kissaten (coffee lounges) of mid-century Japan. In a conscious effort to avoid the spartan industrial aesthetic or hipster wooden look of many a modern Hong Kong cafe, the new Brew Note is already steeped in patina thanks to the main element of stained pine wood panelling that covers the facade and main bar, complemented by period-appropriate textured glass.
Brew Note Coffee, 19 Fort Street, North Point, Hong Kong
Just across the road from the Hong Kong Museum of History is Mood Coffee, a tiny coffee counter that serves the usual lineup of black and white coffee drinks and tea, though the Dalgona Coffee, harking back to the earlier days of the pandemic, can also be had. Fresh muffins in several flavours are also available to complement your drink order.
Mood Coffee, Shop E, G/F, South Sea Apartments, 81 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Much like its name suggests, Esc offers an escape from our current state of affairs for those near its Tin Hau location. The house blend, which combines beans from Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia, is worth a try for its distinct character of heavy bodied chocolate notes with a woody aftertaste. Do note that the cafe doesn’t currently serve food.
Esc, 7 Wing Hing Street, Tin Hau, Hong Kong
Awarded to industry figures who have “made an outstanding contribution to their community and the broader restaurant industry”, Bangkok’s inimitable queen of street food, Supinya “Jay Fai” Junsuta, is this year’s winner of the Icon Award as announced by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. The award was confirmed ahead of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 edition, which is due to take place virtually on 25 March. Jay Fai is instantly recognisable thanks to the ski goggles she dons while frying her chili-rich dishes over a roaring flame, an image which shot to global fame after her Raan Jay Fai restaurant become the only street food venue in Thailand to earn a Michelin star in 2018. She joins past awardees such as Japanese chefs Seiji Yamamoto and Yoshihiro Murata.