Monday, January 03, 2011
brunch/afternoon tea: i strongly recommend waffles at ARIEL LE CAFE
ARIEL LE CAFE
at Q SQUARE, 2 FL
No.1, Cheng De Road, Sec. 1
MRT: Taipei Main Station
hours: 11AM - 9:30PM
Kid friendliness: no high chairs spotted. open cafe area in middle of mall
Visit reviewed: 12/11/2010 (photos by iphone 4G and Canon s90)
I have been on a search for a great waffle for brunch in Taipei ever since I've moved back- as I'm sure many of you have as well. The problems encountered in Taipei- too cakey, too dry, not crispy enough, available only for afternoon tea, too much hype, or too weird (with tuna?!). I think I finally might have found a contender that you fellow waffle lovers can try- and in one of the most random places, a cafe on the 2nd floor of the new-ish Q Square shopping center.
At first glance, I wasn't sure if I was at the right place, until I saw the sign above the kitchen which is across from the entrance/seating area which overlooks the lower floors of the mall. The airy space is a good place for people watching and has some interesting design, including the chandelier made out of coffee cups.
I was afraid after seeing the waffles at the other table that they were going to be cakey, but when they finally arrived to my table, the banana chocolate waffles (NT$160) were lighter than they looked with a touch of crispiness and dusting of powdered sugar. I wasn't disappointed for once and could eat two of the huge slices. I was a little surprised that they served the bananas and sauce on the side, but nothing a little elbow grease couldn't fix. After digging in, I found a scoop of vanilla ice cream underneath the bananas. I was tempted to ask for extra sauce or syrup, but didn't- don't know if they would charge you if you did. Other waffle options on the menu include plain, strawberry, tuna or ice cream.
Be forewarned that they have a policy on the menu, that one drink is required to be ordered per person sitting and the handmade coffees/teas/juices are NT$120-180, as well as a 90 minute time limit for seating, probably for those busy afternoon tea hours. The guy who seated us told us that my friend and i each had to order a drink, but when I couldn't decide, the second server said it was ok since I ordered waffles.
When I went at noon, there were plenty of tables, but after I came back from lunch upstairs, the place was bustling at around 2:30pm. Our waffle took at least 10-15 minutes to come to our table, so I imagine the wait could be longer during busy hours. Other brunch/afternoon tea options on the English and Chinese menu are desserts cakes (on display in the entrance area), quiches, scones and chocolate molten cake. You can also check out their desserts at their patisserie in the food court on B3.