By now, you would have noticed the Tecoma — or ‘Malaysian sakura’ — trees in full bloom all over the country. While they have always flowered around this time of year (they blossom during sunnier months), locals have certainly noticed significantly more blooms. The phenomenon has been drawing people, especially the travel-deprived, out of their homes to recreate "travel shots" in the streets with a blanket of delicate of pink and white flowers in the background.
During a time when many would fly to Japan to see cherry blossoms, the Tecoma trees flourishing in our own backyard show that sometimes the grass (or tree) is greener where you water it. In fact, according to Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, over 10,000 Tecoma trees have been planted in KL alone to adorn our streets.
However, if you truly miss spending springtime in the Land of the Rising Sun, patronise the following restaurants which have prepared Japan-inspired offerings for your enjoyment to signal the beginning of a new season.
Noritake x Celest Thoi
From family homes to luxury hotels and restaurants, Noritake’s impeccable fine china have graced the tables of dining rooms for over 100 years. Today, the brand remains as Japan’s premier tableware manufacturer, producing distinctive designs using innovative technology. In collaboration with Mandarin Oriental, Noritake presents a new set of chinaware designed by Celest Thoi — the first designer outside of Japan and first Malaysian to be commissioned by the brand.
Thoi’s love for delicate flowers are translated onto the collection, which features precious blooms, like Buttercups, that symbolise charm and attractiveness; Lupine, which embody happiness, creativity and imagination; and Hypericum, otherwise known as St John’s Wort, which denote protection and rebirth.
For a limited time only, Mandarin Oriental will be hosting the Noritake x Celest Thoi Afternoon Tea, with Japanese-inspired pastries, cakes and premium teas, using the new collection at Lounge on the Park at the lobby. The collection can be purchased at the venue as well.
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, RM158 per person. Mar 15-May 31. Mon-Sat, 2.30-6pm, Sun, 3-6pm. For reservations call 03 2330 8798. Book here.
Shiseido sakura spring afternoon tea
Flutes of champagne and exotic nibbles are almost a given at afternoon teas these days but Banyan Tree is bringing back the genteel aspect of the midday ritual with a slightly mannered bento box. However, an ordinary tiered-lunch box, this is not.
Honouring cherry blossoms as the harbinger of spring, the hotel has collaborated with Shiseido to curate a menu that features dainty sweets as well as savoury items such as salmon & avacado tartar, baby octopus tempura, fried yam with miso paste, crab mayonnaise maki roll, and more. With each purchase of the afternoon tea at Altitude, you’ll receive a White Lucent Sampling Kit worth RM65 and a Shiseido voucher worth RM50.
2, Level 53, Jalan Conlay, KL. RM148 nett per person. Add on RM40 nett for a glass of cherry blossom sake. Until Apr 30. Book here.