27 November 2015

Chicken Salad Panini

Another panini sandwich! This time, it's much straight-forward, the chicken salad can be prepped easily (and eaten on its own without carbs) and the panini sandwich assembled with little effort.

I admit that our household buys white/wholemeal bread sometimes (coz I'm lazy to bake bread or muffins for breakfast :p). The odd thing is, we usually cannot finish the last few slices of bread and they turn a bit hard (or rather not as soft and fluffy). That's when the bread is best to be used as panini sandwich!

I first grill some chicken fillet that's been lighted marinated with sea salt and black pepper. After the chicken fillet is cooled, just tear them into bite-size pieces and mix with chopped celery, purple onion, spring onion etc with dressing of choice. I use Japanese mayo and yuzu sesame dressing as I have these in my fridge.

To assemble, place a slice of bread on a heated grill pan, top with a few leaves of romaine lettuce, slices of cucumber, chicken salad and finally another slice of bread. Flip the entire sandwich over, cover with glass top and viola, chicken salad panini is ready.

Chicken Salad Panini

  • 70g Chicken fillet
  • Salt, black pepper, mixed herbs (optional)
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 Japanese cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 2 tsp Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Yuzu sesame dressing
  • 2 slices of bread
  1. Marinate chicken fillet with pinch of salt, black pepper and mixed herbs (optional).
  2. Heat up a grill pan on medium low heat and grill the chicken fillet till cooked. Let it cool down slightly.
  3. Tear or chop the chicken fillet into a bowl, add celery, onion, spring onion and dressing. Toss to mix well.
  4. Heat up grill pan on low heat. Place a slice of bread on the pan, place glass top on the bread and grill for 30s.
  5. Place lettuce, cucumber and chicken salad on top of the bread.
  6. Place the other slice of bread and flip the whole sandwich over.
  7. Place glass cover on top of the sandwich to press for 30s.
  8. Best served warm.

 Another easy yet hearty lunch :)

Yums! Chicken, salad, bread, will not go wrong!

25 November 2015

Grilled Vegetables and Pesto Panini

I've been eating a lot of panini sandwiches since returning from Tokyo with my Meyer Perfect Grill Pan. Well, since I lugged it all the way back, must make use of it right?

One of the first recipes that caught my attention on the Panini recipe book is the Grilled Veggie Panini with pesto sauce. The pictures look so good that I simply have to try it even though this particular panini consists of 2 separate components and require preparation at least one day in advance.

Here's my Meyer brand Perfect Grill Pan bought from Tokyo. Actually the grill pan is pretty common, it's the glass top that is difficult to find.

The recipe book was first published in Japan and subsequently translated and published in Taiwan. My copy was bought from Taiwan, courtesy of my brother.

Vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers and zucchini were grilled and then marinated in herbs (thyme and rosemary) and extra virgin olive oil at least one day in advance.

The pesto sauce is made by blending sweet basil, pine nuts, garlic, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, it can be made on the same day as the grilled veggie for flavours to develop overnight.

Pesto sauce

  • 45g sweet basil
  • 40g pinenuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 60ml (4tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place everything into a blender and grind till fine paste.
  2. Store in sterilised glass jar in fridge for use within 3 days.
  3. Freeze the portions not used in freezer, for up to 1 month.

Grilled veggies and pesto sauce, ready for use.

Grilled & Marinated Vegetables

  • 2 small egg plant
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/3 zucchini
  • 5 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • extra virgin olive oil 
  1. Slice the egg plant and zucchini into 5mm slices, bell peppers into 2-3 strips.
  2. Grill the vegetables using a grill pan on medium heat till both sides are slightly browned.
  3. Place the grilled vegetables into a shallow container, add the garlic cloves, thyme, rosemary, and enough evoo to cover the vegetables.
  4. Place container in chiller for a night and ready to use.

Once the preparation work is completed, assembling the panini sandwich is extremely easy. First, place a slice of bread of your choice on the grill pan, top with the marinated veggies, cubed avocado, pesto sauce, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Then place another slice of bread on top, flip the entire sandwich over, press/cover with the glass top and done.

It's not necessary to grill the sandwiches but I like my bread to be slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. And if you don't have the glass top, can just press the bread using a spatula. Or if no grill pan, just use oven, toaster or even air-fryer.

Grilled vegetables & Pesto Panini

  • 2 slices of bread
  • Assorted marinated vegetables, tossed in drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 2-3 tsp pesto sauce
  1. Heat up grill pan on low heat. Place a slice of bread and cover with glass top for 30s.
  2. Place vegetables, avocado and pesto sauce on the bread.
  3. Cover with the remaining slice of bread and flip the whole sandwich over.
  4. Press with glass top for 30s.
  5. Best served warm.

This grilled vegetable & pesto panini is really wholesome and fulfilling, makes a simple, satisfying lunch.

Love the combination of the different tastes and textures which blend well with each other; sweetness of the vegetables, the nutty fragrance and strong aroma of the pesto sauce, the creaminess of avocado, the crisp of the bread.

In fact, love it so much that I ate it 3 days in a roll! Well, actually coz I wanted to use up all the marinated vegetables :p

Gonna make this sandwich again one of these days!

20 November 2015

Meg's Pastry Studio - white cake or sponge cake

My most popular or rather, main cake order is the rainbow cake or ombre cake.

Usually when customers send an inquiry, I would offer 2 choices for the cake base, either white cake or sponge cake.

A lot of my customers are repeat customers or referred through word-of-mouth, because they like it that my cakes are less sweet, very tender and light, suitable for the elderly as well as young children; and even folks who don't usually like cakes and cream enjoyed my cakes.

Most of the time, customers preferred the sponge cake, but sometimes I do get requests for the white cake due to specifications like vibrant colours, able to stand at room temperature/outdoors, very tall cakes, full buttercream rosette piping.

That said, I must highlight that the white cake is not exactly very delicious, or should I say, not as delicious as the sponge cake. So it's kind of difficult to explain to customers who made requests for the white cake (due to the specifications).

Another point that I would like to emphasize, my cakes are freshly baked (one day in advance only - reason in disclaimer below), no preservatives or chemicals like ovalette, sponge gel which are used in commercially-sold cakes to make the cakes more tender and last longer (only agents used where necessary are baking powder, baking soda or cream of tartar).

Here are the differences between white cake and sponge cake, their pros and cons.

White cake

This is baked using a white cake recipe. Cake texture is firmer (as seen from the tight and neat crumbs), ombre colours quite distinct.
  • I have shared recipes before here and here. Ingredients used are cake flour (Prima), baking powder, salt, unsalted butter (usually President or SCS, sometimes Elle & Vire or Lurbak), caster sugar (SIS), egg whites, fresh milk (Meiji brand) and flavoring of choice like vanilla, lychee, mango). Cake batter is made at one go, coloured then baked in individual baking pans. Coloring used is Wilton gel paste.
  • Cake texture is more dense, firm and heavy.
  • Cake tastes sweeter, somewhat flat.
  • Able to take in colours better (batter is whitish as only egg whites are used), i.e. achieve the very vibrant rainbow colours or more distinct ombre shades
  • Preferably paired with a more heavy textured frosting such as buttercream or cream cheese.
  • Able to stand in room temperature for prolonged period. Must thaw in room temperature for at least 30 mins if stored in fridge otherwise cake and cream will be very hard.

Sponge cake

This is baked using a sponge cake recipe. Cake texture is more fluffy (as seen from the more airy crumbs), ombre colours not as distinct.
  •  I HAVE NOT shared the recipe before because the method used is quite tedious, and difficult to explain. Basically I use the genoise sponge method, batter for each cake layer is prepared and baked individually i.e. finish one cake layer, wash up, then do another layer, repeat for all layers. Very time consuming and tedious. And I use a percentage table for different sizes of cake. Ingredients used are, Japanese Nissen brand cake flour, Japanese jyohakuto sugar, fresh milk (I will use Hokkaido milk if possible, else Meiji brand), eggs, unsalted butter (usually President or SCS, sometimes Elle & Vire or Lurbak) and flavorings of choice. Coloring used is Wilton gel paste.
  • Cake texture is very tender, fluffy and light.
  • Cake tastes less sweet, more refined.
  • Unable to take in colours very well (batter is yellowish as full eggs are used), i.e. achieve more pastel shades of colour and less distinct ombre shades. In addition, colours like blue usually turns out turquoise with tinge of green (yellow + blue = green).
  • Preferably paired with lighter frosting such as chantilly cream (whipping cream + mascarpone cheese) or pure whipping cream.
  • Unable to stand in room temperature as the cake is very tender and cream very light, cake will melt/collapse easily.
Buttercream or Chantilly Cream
  • For basic buttercream frosting, I usually go for Swiss Meringue Buttercream because it's more stable at room temperature and yet I could adjust sugar level to make it less sweet. Ingredients used are egg whites, caster sugar and unsalted butter. It can stand at room temperature for an hour without collapsing. Buttercream can be used to pipe more defined designs like rosette and hold the shape well.
  • For Chantilly Cream frosting, it's whipping cream (dairy) and mascarpone cheese, with or without icing sugar. I find that adding mascarpone cheese makes the frosting slightly more stable and creamy. That said, this frosting needs to be chilled at all times, maybe at most 15 mins at room temperature. Chantilly cream frosting cannot hope shape very well, can only pipe simple designs. This frosting pairs with sponge cake very well.

  • Each and every cake is handcrafted specially, no orders are exactly the same.
  • Colours/shades may not be the same as requested, because every batch of ingredients differ, for example, colour of butter, colour of egg yolk.
  • Cakes are usually baked one day ahead, in order for the cream to set overnight which is essential (tried baking on same day before and cream couldn't set in time and cake layers actually shifted a little!). And also to buffer for any mishap or unsatisfactory result (yes, have re-baked cake layers before or scrap off frosting to re-do).
Anyways, I know I'm catering to a niche market and would like to remain status quo for now, i.e. continue this baking business as a hobby and on availability basis because family priorities come first.

If you are still keen to order cakes from me, please drop me an email at megtan@singnet.com.sg
Thank you!

18 November 2015

Tokyo September 2015 - Part VI Shopping Haul

Continued from
Part I - Century Southern Tower, some Shinjuku area
Part II - Food in Tokyo
Part III - Jiyugaoka, Musashi-Kosugi 
Part IV - Aoyama Flower Market, Kappabashi, Harajuku 
Part V - Kichijoji

We have come to the final part of my Tokyo trip report. Here's some of my shopping haul :)

Before that, I'm going to share about the WiFi router that I loaned from Changi Recommends. This is not an advertorial, I used the service, found it good and reliable, that's why I'm sharing.

Usually when I go to Tokyo, I rely on maps, past memory or simply common sense to get around. Sometimes I would search online using the hotel WiFi first before heading out. But nowadays I find internet connection on-the-go increasingly essential, be it searching for a new place/restaurant or simply accessing FB to post photos. Last year, I registered and paid a nominal fee (I think 1000 yen) for accessing WiFi hotspots (through NTT DoCoMo) around Tokyo, but the connection is patchy.

So this time, I decided to loan a pocket WiFi router set from Changi Recommends. It's hassle free, just pick up and return from the selected departure/arrival terminal (24hrs service). To use, simply pair with the mobile phone, key in one-time password and automatically connect. Throughout my trip, I used the pocket WiFi  with no issues, very fast speed and battery lasted a day with even 1-2 bars left. The fee was $8 a day, I thought very reasonable for round the clock internet access. I'm definitely gonna loan it for my future trips to Japan, and even other countries.

Son's clothing from Uniqlo and Muji. I love their kids' range of clothing, especially Muji's stripe tees and cotton easy pants. Although selected SG shops do carry kids clothing, it's slightly cheaper to buy in Japan, and sometimes, there are off-season discounts. Somehow every time I go to Japan, I will still buy a few sets of clothing, usually a size larger.

Muji is certainly one of my favourite Japanese brands, I like their sleepwear, casual wear, kitchenware :p
This time, hubby spotted these winter boots on sale, only 2500 yen a pair. Too great a temptation to resist :p
And even though I have quite a few scarves, I couldn't resist this wine red muffler, it's super comfy!

Medium size tote bag from Afternoon Tea, another of my favourite zakka brand. I owned a few tote bags from AT, but not this size and this one comes with a zipper! Ok, excuse to buy :p

I love this multi-purpose handphone pouch bought from TokyuHands. The main compartment is big enough to hold iPhone 6+, and there are 2 more compartments, one at the front and one at the back (with zipper). There are 2 detactable slings, one short for handcarry and one long for slingcarry. It's most useful when I need to pop-by the supermarket nearby my place for some quick grocery shopping. All I need is my phone, a card, some notes and keys.

The above is a sunshades pouch from Laura Ashley (Jiyugaoka), I've been looking for a semi-hard case for my sunshades for the longest time. The original case is an awkward triangular shape which I dislike, so this pretty looking one is perfect!

The clip cum keyring is from one's terrace, also bought at Jiyugaoka. At that point, I thought I would use it to hold my keys, and the clip part comes in handy because I could clip the whole bunch at a side pocket of my handbags for easy access. But till now, I haven't use it as I'm used to carrying my keys inside a key pouch. Hmmm, maybe I should sell it?

The lightest umbrella ever, only 100g! I forgot to bring an umbrella for this trip and when I was at Jiyugaoka, the sky was overcast and gloomy and forecast to rain. So decided to buy one. But it didn't rain eventually :( It's ok though, I really like it since it's feather light and very convenient to carry around.

Gem of a find at Francfranc (Shibuya). I find that whenever I'm overseas, my mobile phone battery drains very fast, probably coz I'm usually out the whole day and accessing the phone very often. Been looking for a small and lightweight power bank and found this at Francfranc! It's camouflaged as a lipstick and very small and light, and not to mention uber cute. It takes about 2-3 hrs to fully charge up the power bank, and it charges the mobile phone by about 50% which is enough for me to use as emergency power. Maybe not very high power for some, but it serves my needs and looks just too cool. (There are already people complimenting it when I use it outside :p)

These are steam heat pads and eye masks that I bought from drug stores/personal care stores. The eye mask come with orange and lavender aroma, temperature is just right and feels really relaxing. I think Watsons carry it now. The Good-Night steam heat pad has lavender aroma and the others non-fragrant. All 3 are very soothing and I apply them for sleep whenever my shoulders feel tight. Definitely going to stock up the next time I go Japan!

Bought these beauty products from TokyuHands and Ainz @ Tulpe.

Back row, from left (products that I have started using):

Love the maNara hot cleansing gel! Upon applying the gel on the face, it really feels hot and after massaging the face for about a minute, it really removes all the make-up.

The loretta is a light hair-serum which smells really good, I quite like it.

I seldom use mascara but like to keep one for the occasional dinner event. The Lash Sensational mascara is from Maybelline, I would say not bad since the bristles can even cover the very fine and short lashes. The grip of the eyelash curler is quite good.

* yet to try the facial cleanser and eye make-up remover.

Front row, from left:

Yuzu lip balm from Yojiya. My favourite lip balm finally comes in stick form, previously it's always in a tub and I don't really like it as it's cumbersome to use.

Lip essence from ettusais. This is fragrance free and has a slight tinge of pink. I don't really like to apply lipstick, so usually I apply lip balm and this gives a little colour without feeling overwhelming.

Eye drop that's supposed to sooth tired eyes. This was highly recommended by sales staff at Ainz @ Tulpe. The thing is, it's so strong and minty that my eyes couldn't open after applying the drops! Ermmm, it feels comfortable only after the minty effect wears off. Hmmm, not sure if I would dare to apply it too often.

Hello Kitty loose powder and face masks for my sis-in-law, as she's a kitty lover. These are available at most personal care stores.

My very first chef knives from Global (Cromova 18 stainless steel)! I've been using normal knives and recently after attending a hands-on cooking class and tried using one, I'm totally sold. The knife feels light weight and very comfortable to hold, plus it's razor sharp, making cutting a breeze (in fact, I've sliced a piece of skin off my thumb). Although TokyuHands carry the brand, as well as the knife shops at Kappabashi, I went specially to the main store at Roppongi to buy because the staff there could better recommend suitable ones for me. There are hundreds of knives, different shapes and sizes and finally after holding and trying a few recommended ones, I settled on this particular 3-piece set, 1 long knife, 1 short and a knife sharpener. I could even get a direct tax rebate. Yes, the knives are not cheap, in fact quite expensive but no regrets at all.

This is currently one of my favourite cookware :)

Actually I got the book first (saw it on eslite online and asked my brother who was there to help me buy) and found out about this Meyer Perfect Grill Pan. I love panini and sandwiches; although I already have a multi-use pancake/waffle/grill pan machine, the effect created is slightly different (the grill pan will make the panini really flat). Couldn't find this grill pan in SG so decided to hunt for it when in Tokyo.

Visited a few department stores but all of them don't carry Meyer products anymore. Finally found the Meyer range of products at 212 Kitchen Store (Jiyugaoka) but this particular pan was sold out! The sales staff very kindly helped me check stock at other stores and managed to locate 2 stores (Yokohama and Musashi-Kosugi) that still carry the stock. That's why I headed to Musashi-Kosugi (Part III).

When I reached 212 Kitchen Store at Musashi-Kosugi, I hesitated because I already owned a grill pan, all I wanted was the glass cover. But both were sold as a set. They are really heavy and not cheap either. Finally conceited because I knew I would regret if I didn't buy it. So yep, I've been making panini sandwiches, will share some of the recipes soon.

One of my favourite eatery in Japan, Soup Stock Tokyo! Love the soups, barley rice and rustic buns there! There's a big store just outside the east entrance of JR Shinjuku and I was delighted that the store carries mechandise too. Couldn't resist getting a soup bowl and a spoon :p Almost wanted to get the 2 recipes books of their soups but I really lazy to do translation.

I'm into wood crockery these days. Bought the wooden bowl for salad from Muji and the hb wanted the wooden tongs for grilling meat. The wooden plate is from 3 coins, totally love the design!

Some bakeware from TokyuHands and Kappabashi.

I already owned 5 mini spatulas but bought more because they are really handy, especially if I have several small bowls of batter for colour mixing. Bought an extra large metal scrapper for leveling cream on cakes, so far didn't work well, too heavy :(

I'm loving the Joseph Joseph spatula, the sides of the blade is flexible and thin, able to scrape batter very cleanly. I owned one Cuisipro first generation spatula that could do the same but it's no longer in production, so have been looking for a replacement product. Glad to finally find one.

And the thin metal rod? It's a stamp for pastries/bread that I bought just for fun. I always see the rods sold at Kappabashi, the Japanese use it to stamp steam buns and breads? But they are super expensive! This time, I found a few designs that are quite affordable, so decided to get one to play. Yet to use it though :p

Kitchen items from Daiso and TokyoHands.

The draining net is an essential kitchen sundry for me! It's really useful to catch all the little bits of waste in the sink so that they do not flow into the drainage pipes and cause any blockage.

I realised I didn't have a skimmer all this while? So grab a cheap cheap one from Daiso.

Mini silicone tongs are so useful, for deep frying or picking up food from the air-fryer etc! I already have one and needed another.

Ok, a timer. A pretty looking timer. In fact I already have 2 timers, but one was spoilt because I dropped it a few times. Bought a cheap one to replace but it's those that you have to press second by second and it's cumbersome when I needed to time, say 60-70 mins. This one has keys just like a calculator so I just have to press the specific timing needed. Easy. And pretty :p

Pastry flour and earl grey oil from cuoca. Yuzu oil from Flavourland.

I have hundreds of cupcake cases actually but couldn't resist buying these lovely ones from cuoca :p

Ok, don't judge me. I buy my dish detergent from Japan. Yes, crazy. But this is the best brand I've used ever. I bought 2 bottles from a previous trip and feel in love with it. First of all, it's highly concentrated so with just a small amount I could do a whole batch of dish washing. The bottles are soooo cute (200ml) and cheery looking, and most importantly they smell damn nice, almost like shower gel and there are so many different flavours!

I've been using mama lemon for most part of my life and frankly, the fragrance is super boring, like orange, lemon? Tried other brands and they smell horrible. There's also a brand called Joy in local supermarkets and I thought it's the same, but oh no, it smells totally revolting. Sorry, but I'm really particular about smells. I once bought a Korean brand (strangely, at Bangkok Siam Paragon supermarket) with apple smell but unfortunately couldn't find it here. Seriously, detergents in SG are boring. Period. So yep, I'm going to top up on detergents whenever I go Japan (and also the Korean one if I go BKK).

And now onto food stuff. Well, once again I couldn't resist buying some vegetables back because the mark-up in SG is crazy such that I rarely buy them.

So every time I will buy some root vegetables which are more hardy for luggage transport. I also bring along a cooler bag for those foodstuff that needs chiller.

Pickled vegetables like daikon, burdock and cucumber.

KitKat of different flavours from Yokohama, Okinawa/Kyushu, Tokyo, and a Halloween special.

I love to eat financiers! Saw this Henri Charpentier ones at Takashimaya basement food hall. They were made from newly harvested almonds apparently, and available for a limited period only. Haha, that sold me. The financiers tasted very delicate and moist, slightly buttery and nutty. One of the better financiers I've tasted.

Must share these 2 drinks I bought from the combini (convenience store) that I like a lot. The one on the left is a sparkling mineral water in lemon flavour. It's not as fizzy as San Pellegrino or Perrier, quite subtle! I think it's like the newly launched Ice Mountain lemon sparkling drink. On the right is a yogurt tasting mineral water, good to get some prebiotics into the body system right, plus it's yummy!

Ok, this is random. Got this sweet looking storage box from 3 coins. Daiso SG sells some similar looking storage boxes/containers as well, but they are much smaller. This is double the size and comes with a lid.

These are some prizes we got from the UFO catchers :p Or rather the hb caught them. He's quite into these machines and caught several boxes of candy/chocolates as well.

The thermal mugs retain heat quite well, I use them for hot beverages. As for the glass mug, it's very in these days. But I already got one at home, probably will give it away.

That's the end of my entire Tokyo trip! Ciao, till my next holiday!

16 November 2015

Tokyo September 2015 - Part V Kichijoji

Continued from
Part I - Century Southern Tower, some Shinjuku area
Part II - Food in Tokyo
Part III - Jiyugaoka, Musashi-Kosugi 
Part IV - Aoyama Flower Market, Kappabashi, Harajuku

On my second last day in Tokyo, I went to Kichijoji, a small town located in the city of Musashino. Haven't been there for a few years, and this time decided to re-visit because I discovered a quaint little cafe called Hattifnatt Cafe. I remember a few years back, when I came here, there were some zakka shops but not that many. And wow, I must say I totally regret for missing out this little gem all these while! Fans of zakka have been raving about the zakka shops here, but somehow I didn't manage to schedule Kichijoji into my itinerary as I always prioritise Jiyugaoka instead.

Anyways, I only reached Kichijoji in the afternoon as the hb had a medical emergency and we spent the whole morning settling it. Took the Chuo Line (Rapid) from Shinjuku Station and the journey took about 15 mins which is quite convenient (even more convenient than Jiyugaoka as I have to travel from Shinjuku to Shibuya first then transfer to the Tokyu Toyoko Line, that is if I'm staying in Shinjuku).

Upon reaching Kichijoji, I was immediately attracted by the attached mall, Atre. This place is like a zakka haven under one roof, sheltered all the more! In fact, there's also another mall within the station that houses Yuzawaya (hobby and craft specialty mega-store) but I didn't have time to go.

Found a small branch of cuoca, which I visited at Jiyugaoka already. The selection is much smaller, I merely browsed through and headed to other shops.

One of my favourite zakka/home and living chains, 3 coins. As the name implies, everything in this store goes for 300 yen + tax, i.e. 324yen. Here, you can find quite good quality home goods, kitchenware, accessories and stationery.

Pleased to find an Afternoon Tea Living store here, this is even bigger than the one at Musashi-Kosugi.

The Plaza is another popular zakka cum personal care store.

More zakka stores, with fashion accessories as well.

Watashi no Heya, there's another store at Jiyugaoka.

This particular shop, Toiles Du Soleil is very interesting, it's a shop for customising your very own bags.

Pylones from Paris carries very colourful and cute looking stationery and ornaments etc.

Frankly I was quite overwhelmed and due to the lack of time, I only browsed through each shop very briefly :(

Pleased to discover that the other branch of Aoyama Flower Market Tea House is also located with Atre Mall :)
This is mainly a Tea House without the flower shop.

I totally love the entire concept, it's like you are in an enchanted green house.

Unfortunately I didn't have time to sit down for food or tea because I was supposed to go to Hattifnatt Cafe.

The menu items looked good though. Next time!

Almost tea time and I quickly proceeded to Hattifnatt Cafe which is located about 10 mins from the train station.
Look at how adorable the cafe looks! The whole place is made of wood, looks so much like one of those huts found in fairy tales. Even the door is smaller and shorter. I'm already quite short and still have to stoop a little to enter. I think big guys would find it a little awkward.

Even the menu board looks so adorable.

Upon entering the cafe, I was greeted by the staff. This is the reception/cashier as well as the kitchen area.

There are 2-3 tables on the ground level, but level 2 is much better.

Had to climb a flight of very narrow and steep stairs to reach the second storey. Some seats for waiting and behind the door is actually the restroom which I forgot to check it out.

Fell in love immediately with the decor and furnishing. Chirpy and cheerful looking murals with crochet chair covers.

It's so lovely to dine at such a sweet and pretty place!

Couldn't resist walking around to take photos.

It's a perfect place to hang out with some friends over dessert and drinks.

Right in the middle of the level, there's even a third level, somewhat built like an attic.

And there are 4 seating areas like this. Privacy for large group of people, just that everyone would have to stoop low and crawl to get in.

I really feel like a character in some fairy tale, exploring every nook and cranny of the cafe.

The service counter at level 2. The key to this place is the rotating lever.

Basically food is cooked in the kitchen on ground level and then sent up through this special manual "elevator" that's hidden behind these panels.

Once the bell rings, the staff would turn the lever to bring up a box container the food, and open up the panels to receive the food in the box. Cool right?

Even the menu books look so cute and they are all handmade! There's like drinks menu, lunch menu, dessert menu, couldn't stop admiring them.

Ordered an iced flora tea and a nama (raw) chocolate pudding based on recommendation of the staff.

So cute right? Couldn't bear to eat it!

Just look at the face of the pudding, it's like "HELP! DON'T EAT ME". LOL.

After spending quite a bit of time at the cafe, slowly soaking in the atmosphere, I realised it was getting late and reluctantly left the cafe.

Proceeded to zakka shop next door, same adorable concept as well. Wish I could own a cafe cum zakka shop like this.

The zakka shop is really tiny, all the handicraft items are showcased in little wooden boxes. I think probably each box belonged to a particular artist/maker.

Even such a tiny shop, there's a second level and attic level, but each level is so small that only 2-3 people can stand inside.

There's another Hattifnatt Cafe & Gallery at Koenji as well, just a few stops before Kichijoji, next time I must also go take a look.

 Thereafter, I made my way back to the train station area where I did some brief shopping at the Sun Road and Harmonica Street.

CouCou is another 300 yen + tax shop selling very similar items to 3 coins.

It's a pity I didn't have much time at Kichijoji! Had wanted to go to Inokashira Park as well, but there was simply no time! Next time, I shall plan a whole day at the Kichijoji and probably on Sunday as I heard there's a flea market featuring handmade and craft items made by local artists. And perhaps the Ghibli Museum (featuring Japanese anime created by well-known animator, Hayao Miyazaki) but I heard the museum is so popular that tickets have to be pre-purchased for specific date and time. Well, next time!

End of post and stay tuned for my upcoming last post where I will share a few of my shopping haul items.

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