DAZZLING CAFE (SUNSHINE)
at A11, Xinyi Mitsukoshi, 2FL
MRT: Taipei City Hall
hours: 11AM- 11PM (last order 10PM); Fri/Sat 11AM-12AM (last order 11PM)
kid friendliness: high chair available
visit reviewed: 5/3/2011 (all pics from iphone 4)
It's a pretty brillant move of Dazzling Cafe to open their newest location in the middle of a shopping mall. Its glossy white, glittering decor and honey toast reputation would be sure to draw in any casual shoppers passing by, like it did for my friend and I, who were wondering why Paul (across the walkway) was so unusually empty during afternoon tea hours.
In the middle of the afternoon, Dazzling was packed with diners.
The founder of Dazzling Cafe actually had Dazzling stores first, selling jewelry and accessories. This location combines both, with a small shop adjacent to the dining space, which is between Club Monaco and Pandora Jewelry. The decor of the shops stand out, with the sunny yellow accents on the stark black and white. (I hear their other stores have similar color accents and are named accordingly)
But let's say you're not buying any bling today... you're just here for your sweet tooth. There is a lunch/dinner menu that includes seven or so different spaghetti dishes, or an all day menu for honey toast, tea and coffee.
We were lucky enough to get a seat right away at 4PM on a weekday the week after Dazzling Sunshine opened- I think it would be a different story on the weekend and once news about the new location spreads. Upon seating, the waiter lets us know that there is a 90 minute limit at our table and a one drink minimum per person. The drink menu includes hot and iced teas, lattes, juices, slushies (NT$90-160).
There's about ten varieties of honey toast, including toppings like classic honey, chocolate banana, strawberry, caramel, blueberry or tropical fruit, ranging from NT$200-250, . You can also opt for a fondue style, or you could go all out and get a "Party in Your Mouth." Tempting... but we ended up deciding on chocolate banana.
Our drinks came fairly quickly and I was really happy with my fruity Iced Strawberry Tea with Cherry (NT$140), though the drink prices are kinda highway robbery and the fact that each diner MUST order one.
My friend's fancied up latte.
Our truffle french fries (NT$200) came first and they might have spoiled our appetite for the honey toast. Crispy, hot and adorned with truffles, my friend and I agreed we'd probably come back here for the truffle fries alone. Wait, and our two required drinks. Wonder if we could get the truffle fries to go?
Then the honey toast came. If you haven't seen honey toast in person, you might be surprised, like my friend, to see how huge it is in person. I think she might have gasped, seeing the mammoth dessert come towards our table. It's easily shared by four people, and between the two of us, we didn't make it through half of ours.
I had high expectations after hearing about the legendary lines and wait to get a seat, and because they won for Favorite Dessert on the 2010 Readers' Favorites poll and seeing all the drool worthy pictures of decadence. I really wanted to like the honey toast, but I found Dazzling's version to be too dry. I know you're supposed to smother the ice cream and cream onto the cubes of toast, but the previous versions I've eaten (in both Taipei and the states), they've drizzled honey onto the bread before toasting to make a caramelized effect so that the honey toast itself is kind of a revelation without all the other stuff. While there was some dusting of sugar on the toast, we had to ask for more honey to get that flavor. I don't know if the classic honey toast flavor would have been prepared differently, or the other locations, but I was sadly disappointed because I was comparing them to my other experiences.
But I can see how the atmosphere and presentation could lure in curious diners as well as the ladies that lunch/afternoon tea crowd. Dazzling would be an appropriate place for a birthday celebration, or as a tourist stop while shopping in the area. If someone wanted me to go again and share honey toast with them, I'd give it another try. Maybe next time I'll have better luck with a Party in my Mouth.
Reservation number: 02-8773-9229
No. 11, Lane 205, Alley 7, ZhongXiao E Road, Sec 4,
No. 3, Lane 248, ZhongXiao E. Road, Sec 3,