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Unique Flavours of the Eastern District


• Looking for a new culinary discovery? The Mag rounds up three locally developed F&B concepts in North Point and Quarry Bay: N.I.P Distilling, Weeds Gelato & Coffee, and Grotto.


As a “foodie paradise”, Hong Kong has no shortage of restaurants and bars that serve up a wide range of international cuisines. But if you’re craving for something unique – something that showcases the innovative spirit of our city – then look no further than the Eastern District for locally inspired gin and ice cream, as well as Insta-worthy desserts and drinks!

N.I.P Distilling: Hong Kong Spirit

If Hong Kong was a gin, how would it taste like? Take a sip of the N.I.P Rare Dry Gin, a truly made-in-Hong Kong spirit that’s developed, produced and packaged in N.I.P Distilling’s Quarry Bay distillery. “Hong Kong is an ‘N.I.P’ (Not Important Place) when it comes to spirit-making but we’re showing the world that premium craft spirits can also be produced here,” says co-founder and COO Nic Law.

“With our signature gin, we wanted to create something that retains the traditional flavours of a gin, while highlighting flavours of our city,” he adds. The result is a gin made using 21 botanicals, including juniper berries, coriander seeds, aged tangerine peel, fresh pear, ginger and Osmanthus. Aromatic, fruity and spicy all at once, it’s perfect to enjoy in a cocktail or on its own. N.I.P is also launching a Chinese New Year limited-edition gin called “800M”, featuring eight festive ingredients like lotus seeds, mandarin, black dates and gold flakes – a recipe that will surely bring you good luck and prosperity in the new year!

WEEDS Gelato & Coffee: Homegrown Ice Cream

OK, maybe you can’t really “grow” ice cream, but WEEDS Gelato & Coffee’s co-founder Alfred Kwok makes ice cream out of locally grown ingredients such as papaya, strawberry, guava, sweet corn, and even ginger and coriander. Kwok, who spent three months in Italy to master the art of cooking, discovered that Italian gelato often showcases the region’s local produce. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we have the same in Hong Kong?’” he says. “We have so many interesting ingredients that can be made into gelato and represent Hong Kong. But more importantly, we want to support local farmers in expanding their markets.”

On WEEDS’ menu you’ll find all kinds of unusual flavours: like Mui Wo Ginger and Cinnamon Apple, Coriander and Milk, Papaya and Milk, to name a few. “We update the menu frequently as the ingredients are seasonal,” says Kwok. “What doesn’t change is that I use the same traditional Italian technique to make the gelato, and we serve them as plated desserts in eco-friendly containers. It’s a dining experience that’s pleasing for the palate, to the eye and for the Earth.”

Grotto: Where Creativity Meets Cakes and Coffee

Just opened in January, Grotto is Quarry Bay’s latest “Instagrammable” hotspot with its deep aquamarine exterior. Just as visually striking is their signature dessert, the Azurite, a New York-style cheesecake with fermented tofu, topped with a colourful glaze and surrounded by homemade mango and coconut granola. “I have always wanted to break all the rules and traditions of cooking and flavour combinations, so I came up with this recipe by using an Asian ingredient in a western dessert,” says co-founder Andy Dark. “We want Grotto to be a café and bistro that’s full of surprises, and the Azurite never fails to ‘wow’ our guests!”

The gemstone-like cheesecake isn’t the only surprise in store for you, though. Their lunch and coffee menus feature items you’ll find nowhere else. BBC, for example, stands for beer, beef and chocolate stew with pearl rice; while the Tropical Mango-Infused Cold Brew adds dried mango to an Ethiopian coffee base to create a sweet, fruity beverage. These combinations are certainly one of a kind, but as Dark says, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” So, do you dare to take your tastebuds on an adventure?

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