Sugared & Spiced

paris, pâtissière in training

[TAIPEI] Fresh Station Sushi & Fruits 逸鮮棧

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Fresh Station Sushi & Fruits 逸鮮棧

Add: No. 500-5, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao Dong Lu, Taipei / 台北市忠孝東路4段500號之5
Tel: (02) 2725 3555
Hours: 11:30am-3pm, 5:30-10:30pm
Price: [lunch] 320-660 NTD [dinner] 600-1200+ NTD
Visited: Feb 2015

When some friends invited me to have dinner at “Fresh Station Sushi & Fruits”, I wasn’t sure what to expect. “Fresh Station” itself sounds like a salad bar, and the sushi + fruits combo just threw me off completely. Apparently this is a sushi bar that incorporates fruits into its cuisine, which sounds like a desperate attempt to differentiate itself from the hundreds of other sushi restaurants in Taipei…but the friends who invited me to dinner are serious foodies, so I trusted their opinions and went in for a try.

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Upon being seated, my friends told me that they are actually not a fan of Fresh Station’s fruit cuisine, but really enjoy the more traditional sushis prepared by the chefs here. So that’s what we had that night.

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One of the restaurant specialty is its large variety of pickles – apparently they pickle everything – which are supplied to customers generously throughout the meal.

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February 11th, 2015 at 1:10 am

[TAIPEI] Si Zhi Tang 四知堂

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Si Zhi Tang 四知堂

Add: 18, Section 3, Jinan Road, Taipei / 台北市濟南路3段18號
Tel: (02) 8771 9191
Hours: 12-10pm
Price: 800-1200 NTD/person
Visited: Feb 2015

Si Zhi Tang, a low-profile Taiwanese fusion restaurant with dishes that are a little bit out of the ordinary. Reviews of this place are highly mixed, with the negatives generally focusing on its high prices. I was debating whether to try this or just go to a good old Taiwanese restaurant with guaranteed good food and good prices, but decided to come here anyway to see what it’s about. The meal turned out to be quite pricey as expected, but the dishes were delicious, the service was smooth, and the overall dining experience very pleasant. I’d say it’s a nice place to try at least once.

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Si Zhi Tang might be slightly hard to find even if you have the exact address, especially if you go after dark. When you reach No. 18 on Section 3 Jinan Road, look for a small alleyway-like entrance that will lead you to the restaurant.

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February 10th, 2015 at 4:12 am

Posted in taipei

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[TAIPEI] Stoppage Time 補時

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Stoppage Time 補時

Add: 30, alley 15, lane 96, Section 2, Heping East Road / 和平東路二段96巷15弄30號
Tel: (02) 2736 6506
Hours: 11am-11pm
Website: www.facebook.com/stoppagetimecafe
Price: 100-160 NTD/coffee, 130-140/pastry,
Visited: Feb 2015

A stylish cafe that opened up pretty recently in Taipei. They’ve got a huge kitchen area, communal tables, and individual desks. They serve coffee and tea, sandwiches and sweets. They play good music, and they project movies and soccer games onto their big white wall from time to time. I like, quite a lot.

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February 9th, 2015 at 2:58 am

[SHANGHAI] Quan Er 荃二

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Quan Er 荃二

Add: 1, Alley 764 Changle Lu, near Fumin Lu / 长乐路764弄1号, 近富民路
Tel: 18621651927
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 8-10pm [Sat-Sun] 3-10:30pm
Visited: Feb 2015

Just opened in Nov 2014, 荃二 (Quan Er) is a tiny little boutique on Changle Lu filled with stylish knickknacks collected from Japan. I met 文林 (Wen Lin), one of the three shop owners, right before leaving for Paris through a magazine interview. A soft-spoken man from Sichuan, Wen is the Associate Director of the lifestyle section at Bund Pic and travels often to Japan for work. Throughout the years, he and his colleagues have accumulated an impressive collection of miscellaneous goods, which led to the birth of Quan Er. The point is not to really make money, otherwise they wouldn’t be open during such short hours – 8-10pm on weekdays and 3-10:30pm on weekends – but simply a way to share their collections with like-minded others. As to who comes and who buys…it’s all just “going with the flow.”

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February 8th, 2015 at 3:19 am

Posted in paris eats

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[TAIPEI] 1789 Café, by Cyrille Courant

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1789 Café, by Cyrille Courant

Add: 97-1, Section 2 Renai Road, Taipei / 台北市中正區仁愛路二段97-1號
Tel:
(02) 3322 2089
Hours:
[Tue-Sun] 11am-8pm (closed on Mon)
Price:
120-150 NTD/éclair
Website: 
www.1789.com.tw
Visited: Feb 2015

Chef Cyrille Courant has been roaming around the world for a while. He started his cuisine training in France, and subsequently worked in Germany, England, China, and eventually Taiwan where he decided to settle and open a pastry boutique (more details on his professional career here). I first met Cyrille and his wife Sabine back in 2013 at a little cafe in Paris, where we shared our pastry stories (his being infinitely richer than mine) over a few of glasses of wine and some saucissons. He was still in the planning stage of his boutique at the time, and – without having tasted any of his pastries – I could already tell that he is someone passionate for and dedicated to his profession. Cyrille opened his boutique in early 2014, and during my current trip to Taipei, I finally had the chance to try his creations.

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Cyrille’s boutique, named 1789 Café, is dainty and efficient. It starts with a bright pastry display, a few tables just behind to the left, a chocolate display corner, and an exhibition kitchen with counter seats for those who want to gawk at the pastry chefs at work. The boutique opens at 11am, but I went in earlier to see the kitchen during their morning prep time. Here are some action shots…

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When I arrived at 9:30am, Cyrille and his two pâtissiers were in the middle of finishing the éclairs – piping the cream, glazing the top, decorating with chocolates and fresh fruits, etc. Seeing them at work reminded me of my days at Fauchon, where I garnished and glazed endless éclairs day after day…I really wanted to roll up my sleeves and join in on the action!

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February 5th, 2015 at 8:02 pm

[SHANGHAI] Qimin Organic Hotpot Market 齊民市集

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Qimin Organic Hotpot Market 齊民市集

Add: 4/F, Reel Mall, 1601 Nanjing Xi Lu / 静安区南京西路1601号芮欧百货4楼
Tel: 6258 8777
Hours: 11am-2pm, 5-9pm
Website: www.qi-min.com
Price: [lunch set] 88+ RMB [dinner] 200-300 RMB
Visited: Feb 2015

Please note that this is an invited tasting.

I love hotpots, but I’m not exactly a fan of steamy restaurants and messy table tops, with people sticking their chopsticks into one communal pot filled with dubious meats and veggies and unidentifiable blahs swimming in a foamy, murky broth. This is why I’ve always been a fan of Qimin Organic Hotpot. The combination fresh organic ingredients, individual pots, pleasant interior, and attentive service means that hotpot can be a pleasant dining experience as well. They have recently opened a new location in Reel Mall, and I was more than happy to come try out this venue.

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The new space is designed to create a marketplace-like atmosphere, with booths of vegetables, meats, seafoods etc. surrounding a central dining area. The vibe is brought even more alive by Taiwanese underground rock music, which is appropriately kept on a pleasant volume. Two most attention-grabbing features are the clothes hanging from the ceiling, as typically seen in alleyways of Shanghai (but much neater…) and bamboo steamers as table partitions, which, by the way, actually do emit steam when opened…though they do not actually contain food ;).

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February 5th, 2015 at 3:40 am

[SHANGHAI] Outmoded+ 極置家居

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Outmoded+ 極置家居

Add: 141 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Yongfu Lu / 复兴西路141号, 近永福路
Tel: 6054 2338 / 13816823632
Hours: 1:30-8pm
Website: www.weibo.com/outmodedplus
Visited: Feb 2015

I have been following Outmoded+ on weibo for a while and have always loved the tasteful interior design and decoration photos he shares. The style is very consistent – a short description followed by nine photos, always beautiful in composition. Only this time in Shanghai did I find out that the weibo writer, an interior designer himself, actually has a charming boutique on Fuxing Xi Lu displaying furniture, light fixtures, and random knickknacks, collected mostly from Europe. Whether you are looking to decorate your apartment or just want to look at some pretty things, this would be a lovely place to drop by.

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February 4th, 2015 at 1:24 pm

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[SHANGHAI] Maison Asano 淺野府

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Maison Asano 淺野府

Add: 318-2 Julu Lu, near Maoming Nan Lu / 巨鹿路318-2, 近茂名南路
Tel: 6216 2019
Hours: [Tue-Sun] 5:30-10:30pm
Price: 880~1380 RMB/set
Visited: Jan 2015

A number of high-end Japanese restaurants have opened since I left Shanghai in 2012, and one that I heard quite a lot about immediately after its opening is Maison Asano 淺野府. The owners are a pair of Taiwanese siblings with 1/4 Japanese blood from their grandmother, who claims ties to the Asano clan feudal lords (and hence the name Maison Asano). The prices are up there – 888 RMB or 1380 RMB per kaiseki set, but that’s apparently the norm for high end Japanese restaurants nowadays in Shanghai. We were originally planning to go to my old favorite Sushi Oyama, but as it’s closed on Sundays, we ended up at Maison Asano instead.

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I was expecting an intimate restaurant – perhaps just a bar with one or two tables – but Maison Asano is actually quite big with plenty of tables and a few private rooms.

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February 2nd, 2015 at 2:22 pm

[SHANGHAI] Chi-Q

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Chi-Q

Add: Three on the Bund 2F, 3 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Lu  / 中山东一路3号外滩三号2楼
Tel: 6321 6622
Hours: 6-10:30pm
Price: 350-450 RMB/person
Website: www.threeonthebund.com
Visited on: Jan 2015

Please note that this is an invited tasting.

Upscale Korean barbecue by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his Korean-American wife Marja. As you can expect from Jean-Georges and Three on the Bund, Korean barbeque becomes a rather chic affair here with top quality ingredients. They’ve brought in chef Bina Yu, who is South Korean by birth and previously sous chef at Jean Georges’ namesake restaurant in New York, to run the kitchen of Chi-Q. I’ve had Korean barbecue quite a few times both in Shanghai and Seoul but never in such high style, and I was curious to find out how it works.

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But first, a one-liner about the space. It is designed by Neri & Hu (a familiar name in Shanghai by now), who put together a sleek dining room with long communal tables crowned by a dramatic atrium, as well as individual booths. More details on Three on the Bund’s website.

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February 2nd, 2015 at 1:38 am

[SHANGHAI] Farine

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Farine

Add: Ferguson Lane, 1/F, 378 Wukang Lu, near Tai’an Lu / 武康路378号1楼, 近泰安路
Tel: n/a
Hours: 7am-8pm
Price: [pastry] 25-40 RMB [viennoiserie]14-20 RMB [coffee] 30-40 RMB
Website: www.farine-bakery.com
Visited: Jan 2015

Franck Pecol knows how to create little corners of France here in Shanghai. I was a fan of his Franck and Le Petit Franck when I lived in Shanghai a few years back, and soon after I moved to Paris I heard that he opened an excellent bakery called “Farine”, also located in the same block. Apparently he produces the best baguettes and croissants in town thanks to imported ingredients from France and artisanal know-how. Perfect, I thought, this means that when I’m back in Shanghai, I will have a little piece of something to remind me of the good old days in Paris.

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Farine is “flour” in French. “In flour we trust,” as is written on the wall, seems to be the mantra at the shop. On an unrelated note, I like this slightly eery and awkward-looking baker boy in the window.

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The space is small, with a display of pastries, viennoiseries and breads on the right, counter and coffee machine at the front center, and some bar stools on the left. There is an outdoor communal table out on the patio for days with pretty weather, which are unfortunately not so common right now in Shanghai.

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Written by sugarednspiced

January 29th, 2015 at 2:46 am