Monday, January 03, 2011

brunch/afternoon tea: i strongly recommend waffles at ARIEL LE CAFE

No.1, Cheng De Road, Sec. 1
(02) 2552-5269

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.


Anonymous said...

Oh I love this Cafe! I went here for International Lolita Day on Dec. 4 and had that tower dessert thing (Mont Blanc?). I think it is a bit expensive, but the servers were nice and the coffee guy was patient in explaining what all the drinks were :)

I recommend the NT$200 coffee which is a small jug/pitcher each of coffee and steamed milk which you can mix in a cup on your own, so you can decide the ratio of coffee to milk!

I really wanted to try the waffles (yes, I crave those too!) but was too full! I will definitely try them the next time I go here :) Thanks for the review!

queen ting said...

ah i've been here before! and i tried the strawberry one and loved it! lots and lots of strawberries piled on top and with whipped cream as well. its a bit pricey for me so i usually settle for the waffles at the ikari coffee shop chain. the quality of the waffle differs from shop to shop despite being a chain.i guess it also depends on who's making it.but yea, totally recommend this cafe's waffles. def took care of my sweet tooth and will def keep goin back.

Calvin said...

Why is it that the Taiwanese put tuna and/or corn in everything? I mean, I can kind of see the appeal of tuna on a pizza, but a waffle?

joanh said...

sparklewolfie: ooh, what is the mont blanc? sounds good! i think if everyone has to order a drink and then you're eating food too, it can get pricey!

queen ting: thanks for your comment! good to know that the strawberry waffles were good too! did it come with sauce or syrup? i've never had the waffles at ikari! I'll have to try it..

calvin: hahah! i'm not sure.. i guess because it can go on a crepe so they think it belongs on a waffle?

Jamie said...

Nice! Happy new year to everyone, and a great 2011!

Anonymous said...

Just happened to reread this post and saw your reply to me :P

In the last photo of your post, I had the dessert to the far right. I am not 100% sure what it is called because it was French, but it was a chestnut on a tart base with cream filling and cream piped on it

P.S. Have you thought about using a commenting system like IntenseDebate so readers can be notified of comment replies? Blogger's commenting system doesn't send notification which sucks :P

Shiroi Neko said...

I'm hungry now.

joanh said...

jamie: thanks! happy new year!

sparklewolfie: you can click the box below your google account which will email comment replies to you. :)

shiroineko: thanks for your comment!

Johnny said...

I think you did find most legit looking Waffle in Taipei. I remember passing by this cafe, but didn't give it a try. Now I will have to come here someday and chomp it. Neither Melange, Coffee-Alley, nor Dazzling seems to have anything on this. Good find!

joanh said...

thanks Johnny!!! let me know what you think if you try it. i haven't had the patience to try melange or dazzling yet! :)

Maria said...

wow this cafe is awesome. specially the chandelier thats is made of cup so cool. and obcourse that waffle looks so delish!

russell said...

Great blog- I found it researching breakfast places in the main station area, as that is where we will be staying for the next four days. Any other recommendations within walking distance?


Jason said...

Don't bother eating or drinking at Melange. There waffles are thick bready hard crap with almost no toppings. The drinks are pretty good, but way overpriced. It is gross how a place like that can be popular!