Flower Power: Where To Get A Taste Of Sakura Season In Hong Kong This Spring
The sakura season in Japan has always marked a time of new beginnings, a time when children start the new school year, and friends and family gather to picnic and drink under pink-petalled canopies in a tradition known as hanami. In Hong Kong too, there are a handful of places where cherry blossoms bloom, and to mark this natural phenomenon both here and in Japan, restaurants are dedicating seasonal set menus to the sakura and all its ephemeral glory. Read on for where you can get a taste of the fleeting flower this month.
Uma Nota's Sakura Brunch With Max Levy
Brazilian-Japanese restaurant Uma Nota has partnered with chef Max Levy of Okra to present a South American take on sakura season. The restaurant space has been festooned with flower arrangements, all the better to immerse diners in the seasonal brunch menu. Beginning with a sushi and maki section, the brunch also features raw seafood dishes and mains to share, with the menu changing monthly until May.
Highlights include the vegetarian sobazushi, which wraps jackfruit in soba noodles and a thin egg pancake; the tuna ribbons ceviche, highlighting Nikkei flavours by marinating lean and fatty tuna in tiger's milk; and the charcoal-grilled sanbaizu lamb with miso anticucho sauce. The meal ends in a crescendo of desserts, with a platter that includes sakura raindrop cake, and sakura plum and matcha cheesecake. Diners can opt for a free-flow cocktails package to enjoy unlimited refills of the Hanami Highball, bringing together rose sake, sakura liqueur, ginger beer and cherry blossom.
The Sakura Brunch is available every weekend and public holiday until 30 May for HK$500 per person.
Island Shangri-La's Spring Afternoon Tea
Island Shangri-La's airy Lobby Lounge is welcoming in warmer weather with a new afternoon tea menu taking inspiration from the annual sakura bloom in Japan. Priced at HK$338 per person or HK$558 for two, it comprises a selection of delicate sweet and savoury bites utilising seasonal ingredients, like heirloom cherry tomato, green asparagus, sakura tea, green apple, and yuzu, complemented by tea and scones with jam and clotted cream. The afternoon tea will be available throughout March and April for dine-in and takeaway.
Lobby Lounge at Island Shangri-La, Level 6, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong; +852 2877 3838
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Silencio's New Spring Menu
Silencio's new executive chef Sato Kiyoshi has introduced a new spring menu to breathe life into the restaurant's offerings, with some conspicuously sakura-themed delicacies making their debut. Having spent time at Tokyo's Salt and Singapore's one-Michelin-starred Whitegrass, Kiyoshi heralds the arrival of the cherry blossom with the limited-edition Hanami dish, a marriage of akami and chūtoro with piquant ume, cherry blossom, smoked nori seaweed, and spring onion. Available only on the lunch menu, Hanami will be served from March 15 onwards while supplies last.
For those with a sweet tooth, Silencio also offers the Sakura Forest dessert, taking the template of the Black Forest chocolate-layer cake and adding cherry, vanilla ice cream and cherry blossom infusion for an altogether more floral end to the meal.
Zoku's Hanafubuki Cocktail
The Hari hotel's Japanese restaurant Zoku introduces a pink-hued cocktail imbued with sakura flavour this month, courtesy of beverage manager Sabrina Cantini Budden. A literal translation of 'cherry blossom blizzard', the Hanafubuki is inspired by one of her memories from living in Japan: "I was [there] just when the sakura season began and it was one of the most beautiful memories I have, seeing the sakura petals falling like snow." To this end, the drink combines orange peel-infused gin, sakura syrup, sour base, sakura bitters and a foamy head of egg white, topped with a sprinkle of beetroot powder that darkens the colour of the drink the more you sip—a representation of the way in which sakura petals pile up on the ground as they fall from their trees.
Zoku, 2/F, The Hari, 330 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; +852 2129 0338
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La Viña's Japanese Sakura Cheesecake
As part of their upcoming Easter collaboration with former Miss Hong Kong beauty queen Grace Chan, Basque cheesecake specialist La Viña has whipped up a Japanese sakura cheesecake for a thoroughly novel take on the traditional Iberian pastry. The cake itself features TWG Ivory Palace tea-infused cream and cheese, while the burnt crust is topped with fondant sakura flowers, chocolate and whipped sakura ganache. Pick up the 3-inch cake (HK$48) for an afternoon snack, or the 6-inch cheesecake (HK$308) to share at your next hanami gathering.
La Viña, Shop 3, 23 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 9612 0988