Here are all the new restaurant and cafe openings we featured in our August 2019 issue:
Image courtesy of Kokoni
Kokoni offers three carefully curated set menus: kaiseki (RMB1,800), an omakase option (RMB980) and a teppanyaki (RMB980) option. We opted for the nine-course kaiseki option for a full ride of the Japanese gastronomic experience.
The meal started off with a beautifully plated medley of seasonal savory tastes and textures from both land and sea. These little bites were a perfect introduction to the evening – we were particularly smitten by the grilled eel and the baked whelk dressed in rich herb butter. Next, the teppanyaki soup was concocted right before our eyes after it arrived at the table. Wrapped in a transparent cooking film, the soup is prepared directly on top of the teppan, which allows all the seafood flavors to fully meld (apparently this retains the nutritional value of the ingredients!).
From the large sashimi platter, the fatty tuna (otoro) stood out as an absolutely melt-in-your-mouth cut of goodness. The showstopper, lobster sashimi, had a delicate, sweet flavor and was well complemented by freshly grated wasabi.
Who’s going: sashimi lovers, Japanese food aficionados
Good for: fresh sashimi and sushi, Wagyu, teppanyaki
Nearest metro: Dengliang (Exit A), 10 minutes’ walk
2. Royal Stacks
Image courtesy of Royal Stacks
When we arrived, there was a long queue snaking from the order window (despite it being 8pm on a Tuesday). No doubt about it, this place is in demand. We decided to try the ‘Single Stack’ (RMB46), the meat-heavy ‘Bacon Bacon’ (RMB78) and, to top off the calorific meal, classic fries and freshly-whipped milkshakes. While you can’t go wrong with either, the Bacon Bacon burger was particularly delicious, scoring top marks with the perfect ratio of bun to meat to cheese. Royal Stacks make all their patties with fresh 100% Australian beef, and it’s a difference you can taste. To show off the quality of their meat, the patties we tasted were not laden with salt (atypical of fast-food burgers), and could in fact have used an extra sprinkle of NaCl. The fries came in a large blue box and were reminiscent of McDonald’s fries – crispy and thin, but again, with less salt (and without nearly as many grease stains).
As for the shakes, they were the perfect way to wash down our meal. We were expecting our Oreo shake (RMB39) to consist of crushed Oreo chunks swirled in with vanilla, but it more or less tasted and looked like a chocolate milkshake. The French vanilla milkshake (RMB33) was classically delightful, with perfect consistency and sweetness.
Who’s going: Coco Park regulars, burger bums
Good for: classic roadside burgers, sweet shakes
Nearest metro: Shopping Park (Exit F), 10 minutes’ walk
Image via Moooooooi
The coffee at Moooooooi is all hand-roasted by the barista, Colin, who pours her heart into her craft. On the menu, only single-origin beans are used, meaning the barista’s mastery is used to greater effect than with blends (which are considered to be a more consistent way of brewing in the commercial world). We ordered a Flat White (RMB26), which was prepared using Ugandan coffee beans. Upon first whiff, the aroma gave off a slightly roasted and nutty profile. Overall, the drink was well balanced, smooth and had notes of fruity chocolate. Lastly, this Flat White is complemented with a rich velvety finish of microfoam. What a world of difference a good cup of coffee makes.
Moooooooi also has six types of pour-over coffee, and a small selection of fruit teas on offer. Coffee is the main attraction; so, don’t come hungry, as there are only a few croissants, sweets and cakes on display.
Who’s going: coffeeholics, neighborhood creatives, dog lovers
Good for: pour-over coffee, getting your espresso fix
Nearest metro: Meijing (Exit A2), 5 minutes’ walk
[Cover image courtesy of Royal Stacks]