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Monday, September 13, 2010

western/chinese: SUGAR CAFE

No. 4, Alley 27, Lane 216, Zhong Xiao E. Road, Sec. 4  (moved a/o 10/2011)
No. 406-1, Ren Ai Rd, Sec. 4
(02) 8771-4210

hours:11:30 am - 9:30


Kid friendliness: no high chairs spotted

Visit reviewed: 5/4/2010

When my friend picked Sugar Cafe as the lunch spot for our girls' lunch, I thought she chose it because she had been before and wanted us to try it- after all that was the regular M.O. for our lunch dates. But when we got there at 11:15AM to a closed location, we questioned her choice- 'Is this place open? Haven't you been before?' We then found out not only that it doesn't open until 11:30AM (as many places in Taipei can't seem to open before noon), but that she chose the place because she thought the pictures of the food looked good from its Facebook page. Good one, VC.

Once the door lifted, I had a slight sense of dejavu and it wasn't until I got inside and checked out the menu that I realized that this was formerly the location of Yogurt Me. It turns out the owners totally revamped from the inside out- basically reinventing and reutilizing the space and using the Yogurt Me yogurt as a dessert or side for afternoon tea. I think it was a smart move- no one wants to go to a froyo place for sandwiches and breakfast, but people will go to a cafe for froyo. Plus it was just a better designed space, post revamp, moving around the previous "kitchen/yogurt counter" to the back and making way for more seats.

Anyways, if you had never been to the previous incarnation, you'd just see it as a cozy space with warm colored walls and seating areas.

But unfortunately, Sugar Cafe didn't serve any of the desserts or waffles my friend had spotted- instead during lunch hours (before 1:30PM), only the lunch menu is served. Back in May, it was only in Chinese, but it looks like a new English/Chinese menu was introduced over the summer as well as a menu change. The old menu had pastas and rice dishes, but the new menu includes burgers, sandwiches and fried rice.

So I left it up to my friends to order- the menu has both Western and Chinese offerings- so we got a sampling of both.

Complimentary shredded cabbage while we wait for our mains.

When Spaghetti with tomato meat sauce (NT$160) arrived to the table, a few of my friends complained about the pungent smell that accompanied it. When we inquired, they said it was the cheese, but I must admit, it was quite strong smelling for parmesan. I tried a few bites and there was nothing wrong with it- it had the familiar slightly sweet tomato sauce, but one of my friends was so turned off by the smell, she didn't dare take one bite.

The other dishes we ordered were the fried pork chop with rice and the fried chicken with rice which looked the same, with the crispy slices of meat, neat side of rice and trio of vegetables, egg and sprouts. While I enjoyed the bites of pork chop, it was weird for me to eat this along with the spaghetti and it felt sort of like bian dang food served up on a nice plate.

Some fresh oranges to complete the meal- but just makes me wish I had some frozen yogurt!

I would have liked to try the dessert/afternoon tea menu, as the lunch menu wasn't unique enough to call me back, but it could probably be a decent place to eat for people who work or live nearby and want a quick bite to eat. It's too bad that Sugar Cafe doesn't serve breakfast and desserts all day long (that are featured on the sign outside)- it might bring it a wider audience if it did.

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bechedor79 said...

In your friend's defense, those pictures do look really good.

joanh said...

haha! i think the price point for the food was decent... i guess we were all expecting more afternoon tea food

Anonymous said...

They should serve desserts any time requested by customers. It good for business. It goes to show some owner and manager are smart in making the money in business.

A customer will return if made happy there. By not having certain dishes till a certain time is bad indeed.


Jennifer said...

Awesome! How often are you in Taipei? For vacation? :)

joanh said...

anonymous/lona: i think so too, but maybe they have different people make things at different times? i'm not sure

jennifer: i'm here most of the time now! not vacation :)