Snapshots from Kyoto

15375130670_0c22449030_cThree nights in Kyoto ^-^

15537070786_5f71ef54af_cWe took the train from Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon. Only two hours! And then straight to the new Ritz-Carlton Kyoto.

15374218329_c0f84ef9c5_cThere was a Pierre Hermé afternoon tea

14940059524_6049dd9a2f_c…and dinner at Arashiyama Kitcho. The restaurant is located at the base of the mountains, next to Ooi river. It was such a treat to visit on a rainy autumn night. I didn’t appreciate how special that was at the moment.

15558120731_2eb4807654_cThe next morning: a proper Japanese breakfast back at the hotel…

15375130670_0c22449030_c…and a day in Wazuka at Obubu…

15558088991_8d8b69b340_c…where we also had (the first of many) matcha soft-serve cones on this trip.

15561589992_2450a526f6_cThere was a late afternoon stop in Uji…

15550736748_773392a97c_c…before a beautiful kaiseki dinner at Nakamura. Pictured: uni, crab, tofu!

15734247051_bdf1bb07ee_cA good breakfast can really make a day…

15551334750_314d2a19b1_c…as can a stroll through Nishiki Market for yuba…

15737709462_da56380b55_c…and not one (hojicha)…

15734240751_ccc05ac32b_c…or two (milk cream)…

15550289389_8ea7434bc3_c…but three (matcha!) servings of soft-serve. Heehee.

15736161325_9560a50232_cAfter the market, we walked to Ippodo for…

15550283049_477f260bcc_c…the tenka-ichi gyokuro…

15734237861_664f6d9765_c…for two.

15550284439_9fc10f413b_cAs well as koicha…

15550708988_f6a52341d7_c…and then matcha.

15712447876_19f0565d26_cBoth teas came with wagashi made from red…

15116773723_c10c7c9076_c…and white bean paste.

15737691862_888d28caed_cThen it was time to visit Izuju for a lunch…

15116195584_1d72a9f27c_c…of mackerel sushi. Bliss!

15116753993_98da0fedac_cWe had a French-Japanese kaiseki that night at Misoguigawa…

15734205681_e35e113e4f_c…and then matcha pancakes for breakfast. Next stop, Hokkaido ^-^

Afternoon Tea | Ritz-Carlton Kyoto

15560841905_67048843c6_cOnce in a while I’ll come across a truly memorable afternoon tea.

15511614299_dbb3cccdeb_cIt’s rare when food, service, presentation, atmosphere, and the tea itself are perfectly aligned…

14940678283_7e497e754e_c…and when that happens…I am happy for days. Such was the case at the newly opened Ritz-Carlton Kyoto ^-^

15374237709_80610353c7_cThe property collaborated with Pierre Hermé for their classic tea set (when hotels do afternoon tea collaborations, it’s usually a limited edition run). There’s also a Pierre Hermé boutique in the property, so you can count on a fresh selection of sweets.

15375213360_8a2c7a677d_cThe tea list is split into multiple sections, but you want to focus on the Seasonal Teas. Four selection for autumn:

  •  Momijigari | black tea with apples, apricots, and autumn leaves
  •  Moonlight Osmanthus | black tea with osmanthus
  •  Chestnut | green tea and chestnuts
  •  El Nino | black tea and chocolate

We had the Moonlight Osmanthus (detailed post on osmanthus soon!) and Chestnut tea…both so full-flavored and delicate.

14940676513_5585684e03_cAnd then onto the savories!

15561677912_f9f62560b5_cFoie gras parfait with pears

15374836757_e8e6d906fd_cBeets, ricotta, and roast beef with lemon confit

15560849995_fd5044763c_cSalmon, sweet potato, sour cream with olive, and ikura

15374230539_1a074c8757_cScallop and eggplant with vanilla, ginger, and caviar

14940674493_85567a3b17_cMushroom tartlette

15558163981_33055a9020_cThe scones are baked by the Pierre Hermé team, one each of the raisin and carrement chocolat.

15558169181_fc9135a14f_cComes with clotted cream and a seasonal confit.

15375199430_a0a6b12207_cAre you ready for the cakes? This is the best part ^-^

They did a number of Pierre Hermé signatures in miniature:

  • Ibiza | pistachio dacquoise biscuit, orange mascarpone cream, orange marmalade, praline mousse, and nougatine
  • Plaisir Sucré | hazelnut dacquoise biscuit, praline crisps, milk chocolate ganache and chantilly
  • Ispahan | rose macaron, rose petal cream, raspberries, and lychee

15558166111_fc8e860ee1_cChocolate bonbons (ginger and dark chocolate) and macarons (lemon and vanilla).

15374228709_9e75916873_cFinishing with raspberry sorbet. Perfection ^-^

Snapshots from Tokyo

15371002298_a494654d1a_cA quick recap of moments, memories, and meals from Tokyo ^-^

14936406804_82167081f2_cStraight from Narita airport to Kohaku for turtle soup and taro with truffles…

15533420366_526f211d30_c…and six hours later…waking up for a Japanese breakfast at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo.

15505445479_d074d4de63_cWe met Mihoko (so happy to meet!) for lunch (wish you were there, Hanya ^-^) and spent the afternoon exploring…

15371492130_6572c25093_c…before afternoon tea back at the Mandarin

15371465020_5e245e5edf_c…and dinner at Sushisho Masa.

15371238730_e0030891a1_cMidnight cocktails at Bar High Five (my first time trying a Bloody Mary o_O)

15533147896_a3d7d29969_cThe next day we visited Omotesando Koffee for granitas, shakeratos and this…

15533145006_c4cfb83f53_c…hot baked custard (imagine an extra custard-y canelé in cube form).

15370838857_6c629dd833_cWe also came across a location of Doughnut Plant, so had to try an Uji matcha doughnut.

15554160091_5567448421_cEarly evening at New York Bar at the Park Hyatt…

15667508386_13dfa1c574_c…what a magical place ^-^

15557664482_5e89ed4a3c_cDinner at Sushi Shin…

14936051614_afb625e790_c…and more cocktails at Star Bar.

Next stop, Kyoto ^-^

Afternoon Tea | Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

15371094587_324ec30087_c (1)Hello from Tokyo ^-^

14936931093_895133ba0b_cMandarin Oriental Tokyo is doing a tea collaboration with Helena Rubinstein

15371484420_bce3783469_c…to celebrate the launch of Life Pearl Cellular. The pastry team infused purple into a number of savory and sweet bites including purple potato tarts…

14936355044_5c9fa0ae74_c…and bacon quiche with roasted purple cauliflower.

15370488739_800c71ce0b_cSavories also include smoked salmon blini with ikura and caviar…

15370487369_3c63cd9b65_c…and ham and comté on whole wheat.

14936941383_8996040908_cInstead of committing to a full pot of tea, guests can order a different type of tea after finishing each cup. Also worth noting – MO Tokyo has two exclusive blends: Exotic Orchard (oolong and pu’erh flavored with lychee) and Mandarin Oriental Blend (oolong infused with citrus fruits).

15370980608_709723b4ab_cScones! Mini in plain and cranberry…

15554428611_c1804465e3_c…with clotted cream, blueberry jam, and lemon curd.

15371100457_8e752a1a71_cSweets include acai jelly and cassis mousse…

15557945282_897819f60f_c…blackcurrant tea and cherry macaron…

15557116905_d1f9ea1496_c…pear tart…

15533398746_dc34bfb38b_c…Trésor…

15370972318_04e065d328_c…salted caramel and chocolate crunch…

15371482280_326f72031f_c…and an itty bitty pumpkin pie.

15371492130_6572c25093_cTill next time ^-^