No. 145, Rui-An St.
visit reviewed: 12/17/2006
As we approached the restaurant, it was not yet open at 7 minutes before 10am, and a few other people were waiting already. My friend who had spotted THE DINER awhile ago said that the last time he passed by, it was packed with quite a long wait, so he was excited that we had timed it just right to get a prime seat on this busy Sunday morning.
The inside is cozy and more cafe-like than diner-ish, with simple wooden furniture and various lamps hanging down above the tables. It was decorated for the holiday season with hand-drawn cards and a "merry kissmas" image of two snowmen kissing above the counter/kitchen area.
While the menu features such American staples such as meatloaf and country fried steak (served daily after 11:30AM), the reason people mostly come is for their all day brunch options like omelettes, pancakes, french toast, eggs benedict, eggs florentine and breakfast burrito. I ended up getting the eggs benedict (probably the first time I've had them in Taiwan) and most of the other people got omelettes. The breakfasts come with choice of hash browns or o'brien potatoes as well as a small cup of OJ, and bottomless cup of coffee or tea and a side of fruit (in this case, 1 strawberry with condensed milk on it). The omelettes also come with a slice of bread cut into triangle halves.
We lingered over conversation, our hot drinks and the morning paper, and our food trickled in a few at a time. The omelettes seemed to come out a lot faster than the eggs benedicts, which were the last to come. One of our eggs benedicts came so far after all of us were done, we thought maybe the kitchen forgot about it and a couple people decided to order more to eat.
Overall, the food was pretty good. They only use organic eggs and the omelettes were fluffy, flavorful and full of the ingredients. It didn't taste or look processed like some omelettes sometimes do. The o'brien potatoes were also very tasty- probably pan fried with a lot of butter.
My eggs benedict looked pretty delicious by the time they came. Fluffy poached eggs resting atop the english muffins, with the sunny hollandaise sauce spooned over it. It was very good, and just a few notes from being awesome - (1) the hollandaise sauce was too runny/watery than I prefer and there was too much- it made the muffins soggy, which I don't like, (2) the muffins didn't seem toasted- they were soft and mushy rather than the crispy soft texture of the toasted variety that I prefer, (3) it needed few sprinkles of pepper and salt. The side of potatoes though were a home run- I probably could have eaten a whole plate of them if I wasn't careful- they were tasty, bite sized and had some herby flavor that made them unlike any breakfast potatoes I've had before.
I didn't get to taste the breakfast burrito or the pancakes, but everyone's plates were emptied pretty quickly. The pancakes looked golden brown and fresh off the griddle, unlike the dry, hard pancakes from NY Bagel.
The next time I come, I will probably try the pancakes or french toast, or get an omelette. I also spotted on the lunch menu a pastrami sandwich that made me very tempted to order one for lunch later that day. The authenticity of their American-style breakfasts bode very well for a potential authentic pastrami sandwich- and how great would that be to be able to eat a pastrami sandwich whenever you wanted in Taipei? (hahah.. you see I've been here too long!)
Everything on the menu seemed appetizing and very affordable, and it also featured kids options for only NT$100 each. There's also a parking lot available at the corner of Rui An St and He Ping E Rd.
I almost didn't want to write about the Diner since it's one of those brunch places that have a wait-time for those in "the know" in the Shida area, and I didn't want to let the secret out so that the wait would be even longer the next time we went, but it's definitely too good of a find not to share. If you're going to wait on the weekend for NY Bagel, you might as well give this tastier, fresher, more authentic and faster option a try- but if you go, let me know what you thought!