Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Taipei] Café de Riz 米販食堂

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Café de Riz 米販食堂

Add: 34, Lane 78, Section 1, An He Road, Taipei /台北市大安區安和路一段78巷34號
Tel: (02) 2755 6587
Hours: [Tue-Sun] 11:30am-10pm
Price: 600~1,200 NTD/set
Visited: Feb 2015

When Yuji Nomura left in 2013, the owners of Nomura Sushi renovated the space to become what is now Café de Riz. Literally “rice cafe”, the focus here is of course on the rice, showcased in the form of donburi and ochazuke (which they call “consommé rice” here at the cafe). It was chilly on the day of my visit, and a hot bowl of ochazuke was exactly what I had on my mind…

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In terms of space, Café de Riz is rectangular shaped and neatly sectioned into the kitchen, bar, and table areas. The style of decor is a mix of elegant and cute, with clean lines, soft lighting, and chic little knickknacks placed here and there. Many items, the plates and chopsticks included, are hand-carried back from Japan by the owners themselves. It shows that a lot of heart has been put into making this place a most pleasant one possible.

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And yes, you can buy rice here. Cafe de Riz has chosen to work with two varieties of rice, the first is “koshihikari” (コシヒカリ/越光) from Shikoku, Japan, which is used for vinegared rice for all the donburi, and the second is “yu huang” (玉皇) from Hualien, Taiwan, whose texture is thought to be more suited for ochazuke. I saw the Taiwanese variety on sale in the shop for 99 NTD/300g, though I’m pretty sure you can buy the Japanese variety here as well. Ask to check.

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Now on to the food. My friend chose the “cod roe with tender bean curd” consommé rice (700 NTD), the only option for those who are not in the condition of eating raw fish. If you haven’t already tried ochazuke, this is a Japanese dish made by pouring green tea or dashi over cooked rice with savory toppings, which can be as simple as a piece of ume (sour plum), or as elaborate as you see in the below photo with cod roe, squid, bean curd, seaweed, etc.

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I went for the “katsuo” consommé rice (700 NTD), which is only on the menu when the skipjack tuna is in season. Now is a good time to eat katsuo as they’ve been layering up on fat to combat the cold, and when slightly torched…the fragrance is simply irresistible. Sprinkled with white sesame, myoga, ginger, and spring onion then poured with house-made consommé, this is the perfect comfort dish for the winter.

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Along with the  main course came an appetizer and a few side dishes.

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Desserts, courtesy of the restaurant. It was a panna cotta-like dessert topped with fruits and jelly, a pleasant ending to our lunch, albeit a little too sweet for my palate. A cup of genmaicha comes with the set, though you can also opt for any other a la carte drinks and get a 50 NTD reduction in price. If tea is not your thing, there are specialty brews from Brazil, Ethiopia, and Indonesia to choose from.

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One negative comment regarding Cafe de Riz that I frequently see is its price. It’s true that this place is more expensive compared to other restaurants serving similar food, but I still quite liked it for the quality ingredients and lovely ambience…and I already know what I’m getting next time when I visit – the “Fabulous Seafood Don” which I spotted on this delicious blog.

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Written by sugarednspiced

March 23rd, 2015 at 11:12 am