Cafe Megane 眼鏡咖啡
Add: 5 Lane 52 Si Wei Rd, Taipei 台北市大安區四維路52巷6號
Tel: (02) 2708 4686
Hours: 12-10pm (closed on Tue)
Price: [drinks] 100~220 NTD [food] 180~280 NTD
Somewhere near the Tun Hwa/Hsin Yi intersection hides this stylish little café with an attitude. The decor is warm in a subtle palette of natural wood and yellow lighting, but the the wait staff serves with a cool nonchalance – not a frosty or rude manner, but it’s just not the usual warm friendliness typical of Taipei. This irked me a little bit (it’s amazing how fast I’ve grown used to remarkably amiable service in Taipei in the few days I lingered in the city) but this disinterested, thanks-but-I-don’t-really-care-what-you-think mannerism fits perfectly with the general vibe of the café.
There’s a table of four and a table of two, plus 6 slots at the bar and a few outdoor seats. It’s a tiny space, and no, they don’t take reservations. We were lucky to have the whole space to ourselves for a weekday lunch, but it’s not surprising that this place gets packed on weekends.
Megane is Japanese for “eyeglasses,” and sure enough, there was a collection of old-fashioned eyeglasses in the cabinet.
The menu doesn’t offer a wide selection of food items. When in the mood of something savory, you are left with two choices – the onigiri set, or the chicken stew.
The onigiri set (280 NTD) includes two types of Japanese rice balls – the onigiri of your choice (salted salmon or spicy cod roe) and an onigiri of the day, which happened to be flavored with shiso and other fragrant herbs on the day we visited. The set also comes with little mounds of side dishes – gobo slices, egg salad, broiled green peas, pickles, and seaweed salad – and a small bowl of kombu soup filled with daikon, carrots, gobo, konnyaku, and a chicken wing. Light and tasty.
Onigiri of the day 每日精選飯團.
The chicken stew (200 NTD) is simply a larger version of the kombu soup in the onigiri set, with the addition of fish cakes and a dab of yellow mustard. It’s very light, bordering on bland, but not a bad choice if you are looking for something to soothe the stomach. Next time, however, I’ll definitely go for the onigiri set instead.
The cappuccino (150 NTD) was smooth, aromatic, and came with a small block of Meiji milk chocolate. By the way, the rule is that each guest MUST order a drink at Cafe Megane whether you order food or not.
It’s quite amazing how this tiny space is so filled with random curiosities. Slightly disturbing paintings and artsy books, random knickknacks on display for sale, and a spiny chestnut cupule used as a vase?
Browse through Cafe Megane’s website and drool over the alluring pictures of their matcha milk and maple syrup waffles. For those lucky ones living in the city, be sure to come on a weekday (to avoid the crowd) and enjoy a quiet snack or coffee. Bring your laptop and stay for a while, but be prepared to pay 50 NTD should you need to plug in the power cord. “A donation to the earth,” they say.