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The Heyward

New York

Named after Charleston-born poet DuBose Heyward, this spot blends coastal-US cuisine with the requisite industrial trappings of a new Brooklyn opening. The Williamsburg venture contrasts its Southern-style hospitality with raw steel and antique furnishings. “We chose a design aesthetic reminiscent of the post-industrial era mixed with the European-influenced feel of early 1900s Charleston,” says co-founder Christopher Brandon.

The Heyward blends southern-Atlantic flavours with ingredients sourced from the eastern seaboard. Think shrimp and grits with chorizo, shishito peppers and a buttery shrimp broth (pictured). Winter risotto is made with roasted parsnips, pomegranate and hickory-smoked chestnuts.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Tokyo

Bay Area bean fiend Blue Bottle Coffee has cafés throughout the US but crossed the Pacific this year to open its first overseas outpost. Located near Kiyosumi Garden, the imposing two-storey building holds a cupping room, roaster, pastry kitchen and coffee bar. Expect exquisite espressos, single origin or blended drip coffees and pastries as part of a welcome addition to a Tokyo coffee scene that is bubbling up nicely.

Hisashi Todoroki Rice

Nagano, Japan

Born into a farming family in Nagano, self-taught designer Hisashi Todoroki worked with fellow agrarians to come up with a catchy packaging solution to help sell his Koshihikari rice. The numbers on the outside represent the amount of rice in a bag by the go: the Japanese equivalent of a cup in European cooking, or around 180g. The rice is grown in the village of Kijimadaira where it is fed by the waters of the Tarukawa and Magusegawa rivers.

Stauffenberg Gin

Berlin

Sit in an artsy Berlin bar and you might see a historic name on the spirits shelf. Distiller Franz von Stauffenberg, a relative of the army officer who tried to assassinate Hitler, began creating spirits in the 2000s to make use of the over-ripe plum trees on his land in Jettingen, Germany. His one-man operation uses a 1930s copper still to make 180-bottle batches of organic gin with 19 botanicals. We’ve yet to test the claim but he insists the blend is hangover-proof.

Bar Nou

Barcelona

Bread and tomato or Pa amb tomáquet may be the iconic dish of Catalonia but until now the beloved culinary treasure got little attention from restaurants. Close to Barcelona’s Plaza Catalunya, however, Bar Nou combines culinary know-how with fun in this modern rendition of a Catalan diner. A prominent altar showcases the preparation of the dish; bright food photography lines the walls. The concept is the brainchild of food entrepreneur Miquel Angel Vaquer, who was enlisted by the owners to revamp their restaurant. The ample menu includes the breadth of Catalan cuisine and an instructional guide helps the uninitiated to pair each dish with the correct combination of bread, tomato, salt and olive oil.

Stauffenberg Gin

Berlin

Sit in an artsy Berlin bar and you might see a historic name on the spirits shelf. Distiller Franz von Stauffenberg, a relative of the army officer who tried to assassinate Hitler, began creating spirits in the 2000s to make use of the over-ripe plum trees on his land in Jettingen, Germany. His one-man operation uses a 1930s copper still to make 180-bottle batches of organic gin with 19 botanicals. We’ve yet to test the claim but he insists the blend is hangover-proof.

Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories

Vilnius

The fact that Lithuania isn’t known for its coffee culture was seized on as an opportunity by Emanuelis Ryklys when he started roastery Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories in 2011. “In general the environment of Lithuania is good enough to release your ideas in to,” says the Vilnius-based entrepreneur. “Lots of institutions now try to support newcomers, although there are always issues with the old bureaucratic culture.”

With an eye on the city’s third Dark Times coffee conference, set to take place this autumn, Ryklys would also like to expand his cold-brewing and roasting operations to include a bar. His minimally designed, brown-bottled brew signifies a bright future for the black stuff in Vilnius.

Star dish: Skirt-steak taco

Tijuana Picnic, New York

Chef Alex Lopez is a native of Mexico City but spent 12 years training in the kitchens of Asian restaurants before joining Tijuana Picnic in Lower Manhattan. “We thought it could be fun to use his experience in that type of cuisine to inflect some non-traditional flavours,” says business partner Jean-Marc Houmard. “In the skirt-steak taco, Lopez adds shizo leaves, often used with sushi rolls.” This colourful interpretation also involves marinating the steak in Sambal chilli and hoisin sauce, then giving it a topping of spicy aioli and pickled vegetables. Houmard teamed up with New York food-scene heavyweights Jon Neidich and Huy Chi Le to make the restaurant a reality.

Anima Cakes

Buenos Aires

Having honed her craft selling her range of cupcakes at a London market stall, baker Inés Maisano (pictured, below right) returned to her native Buenos Aires. There she built on private orders and corporate-event commissions, gained through word of mouth, before starting this cute café on a secluded, leafy street in the city’s Barrio Norte.

Maisano’s original cupcakes are still the main draw amid the spare, industrial décor of chipboard and exposed lighting but freshly iced carrot cake and lemon sponges provide further temptation from the white-tiled counter. The menu also offers hearty breakfasts, sandwiches and salad options for hungry diners of a more savoury inclination.

Alt Milk

London

Some almond milk contains as little as 4 per cent of the nut by volume but a fifth of London-based Alt Milk’s creamy elixir is made from the organically grown stuff. The cold-pressed milk also carries a sweetness from the addition of dates, vanilla and just a pinch of Himalayan salt. “It’s my favourite in tea,” says Rachel Hurn-Maloney, who founded the firm in 2014, “and delicious in smoothies, cereals and porridge.” Next she plans to work her magic on cashew milk.

Moon Izakaya

Hong Kong

With its full-length windows and outdoor seating area, Moon Izakaya is markedly more welcoming than Hong Kong’s other Japanese options. “Japanese restaurants are usually very shut off,” says owner and head chef Wong Ka Wai, who has 10 years’ experience in some of the city’s best sushi restaurants. “We want to experiment with a more open atmosphere.” Moon Izakaya’s specialities are highly seasonal so try the firefly squid sashimi this spring.

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