TIM & MEL PATISSERIE AND BISTRO
No. 39, Lane 345, RenAi Rd, Sec. 4, 台北市仁愛路四段345巷四弄39號
hours: 12 PM - 9 PM
$$ (about NT$600/person; NT$300 for afternoon tea)
Kid friendliness: no high chairs, limited space.
Visit reviewed: 3/7/2012
Opened last summer, Tim & Mel Patisserie and Bistro joins the growing myriad of chic and cute cafes dotting the alleys and lanes in Taipei. A rainbow of macarons, shelves of dainty pastries like yuzu hazelnut bombes and an centered, open kitchen greets you in this tiny bistro that seats about 20 or so people.
There's bar seating at the open kitchen to watch the chefs hard at work, or group seating available at tables in the front and back where you can gaze from afar.
The lunch menu is limited to seven or so savory dishes to be ordered ala carte, and on the day we went there were quite a few things not available- steak, gnocchi and souffles. We ended up ordering a few pastas and a roasted duck breast to share, saving room for dessert.
The food took quite a while to come out of the kitchen and a dish at a time, so it would be hard to wait for all the dishes to arrive to eat. My favorite was the elegantly plated roasted duck breast with sauteed mushrooms and green beans (NT$580) which was very tender and juicy, with the right amount of salt and pepper.
I ordered the Scallops with truffled
gnocchi pasta (NT$660) which was supposed to come with gnocchi, but since they were out, they replaced with pasta. I was fine with that since I don't like gnocchi anyways. The scallops were cooked well done, rather than seared medium rare and the pasta was gone in a few bites.
I felt for the price they charged for the scallops, they could have served more pasta, but I guessed that the plate was chosen for gnocchi and not switched up make more room for more pasta. Since Tim & Mel's bucks the Taipei trend of offering sets and everything was ala carte, a meal could get pricey with the portion sizes- since this portion was not filling as a main dish.
My friend's pan crisped chicken pasta (NT$380) was a better size for the price, but I didn't try it. He said it was a little over seasoned, but finished it.
If I came back for the savory, I'd order the duck breast again and maybe try the waygu beef salad.
Tim & Mel Patisserie should be more popular for afternoon tea- they offer a set that has a strawberry mille-feuille, selection of three macarons, panna cotta and drink for NT$360. Or you could pick and choose your own desserts. Browsing the flavors, it's hard to choose just three for the set.
Let's go back to the macarons... cassis, mint chocolate, blueberry, raspberry...
black sesame, mango, lemon lime...
Macaron boxes are tucked along the back wall and framed news clippings to read about the brother and sister chefs from the East Coast while you wait for your food.
Since they didn't have souffles (bummer!) that day, we shared an afternoon tea set and a strawberry crepe (NT$160).
The desserts were all very drool worthy and competitively priced. The macarons here slightly bigger and at NT$65, a better deal than the other famed macarons around Taipei which usually run NT$80-100 a piece (Patisserie La Douceur (which recently expanded to two floors and opened a second location in DaAn district), Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki (which is going under renovation at Bellavita to expand the seating area), Paul (which has expanded its menu), Robuchon, Boite de Bijou- am I missing any?), which makes me feel slightly less guilty about paying US$2 for a bite of sugar.
Ok, a bite of happiness is priceless. Happiness times three.
The strawberry mille-feulle is slightly awkward to share, but the crispy and creamy layers elicit mmms around the table.
I also end up picking out two flavors to try that my friend didn't pick, that ended up being my favorites- mint chocolate and lemon lime macarons.
After finding out about Tim & Mel Bistro, I found out that Chef Melissa Chang also opened another shop nearby called Tartine Bakery that served even more macaron flavors and goodies to discover- so of course I had to try it out. Stay posted!