Address: 53 Dong Feng Street, Taipei / 台北市東豐街53號
Tel: (02) 2706 3553
Price: 600~1,000 NTD/person
Visited on: 2012-01-28
There is no signage outside of Diary, but the warm glow that exudes from its floor-to-ceiling glass storefront easily attract passerby. Walk in, and the buzz instantly envelopes you. It’s a stylish place filled with good-looking people having a very good time. They are sipping beautiful cocktails and nibbling off a menu that offers a snapshot of what young people in Taipei crave right now. The decor is industrial chic, with exposed concrete walls and roof beams, softened by the warmths of antique wooden tables and subdued lighting. Open kitchen, but of course.
We were led to the bar seats, and these burnished aluminum stools (Emeco, I heard) are surprisingly comfortable.
While browsing through the menu, I polished off these air-dried pineapple slices. Crisp, slightly sour, totally woke up my appetite. The bartender told me that they vary the type of fruits they use, and his personal favorite is air-dried lemon slices. My mouth salivated just at the thought of this.
Diary specializes in handcrafted cocktails, and it’s a great idea to start the meal with a few drinks from the bar.
At the bartender’s recommendation, I ordered Hanami (280 NTD), a Beefeater gin-based cocktail with Dover sakura liqueur, lime juice, and fresh lime juice. Light pink color, sour fruity flavor, a thoroughly girly drink.
What’s interesting is that each cocktail is served on a paper coaster with the drink’s recipe handwritten on it. Recreate this at home, if you’d like.
My dinner date had the Stinger (280 NTD), a mix of brandy and white creme de menthe liqueur. Not my personal favorite.
We were only looking for small bites and decided on two dishes to share. First came Fried Rocks (300 NTD), which, despite its unassuming look, is actually chunks of fish, squid, and shrimps deep-fried in cuttlefish ink-colored batter – a perfect collision of crackling crunch and silky smooth seafood. It came with a house made saffron mayonnaise, a very befitting accompaniment.
Then, a roasted baby chicken with Dijon mustard sauce (500 NTD). I love its simple presentation – a whole baby chicken sitting assuredly atop a puddle of Dijon mustard sauce. The chicken was deboned, stuffed with a mousse of chicken breast meat and goose liver, then roasted to an alluring golden brown. An irresistible bird.
After politely and patiently waiting for me to snap pictures of this good-looking bird, the waiter quartered it for us in two sharp slices.
I loved Diary for its cool and comfortable vibe, and of course its simple yet delicious dishes, but what pulls this place together is the professional and friendly service. This is a place I’d frequent if I were living in Taipei.