Dazzling Café Mint

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Dazzling Café Mint

I've heard about Dazzling since December ... they're mostly famous for their "honey toast," which I think I described in an earlier entry about Perfume Dance. I've been trying to find out where "honey toast" originated, and it seems like it might be Japanese, though I still haven't gotten to the bottom of it. In any case, "honey toast" is basically a loaf of bread with its insides dug out ... the insides are taken, chopped up into chunks, toasted and dressed with various flavors (ice cream, fruits, syrups, etc.), then reinserted into the loaf. This sounds sickening to me, probably since I've seen it in person ... it's expectedly massive and incredibly sweet looking. One of these days, before I leave Taipei, I swear I'm going to sit down and attempt to eat one of these, hopefully with someone to help me.

Anyway, Dazzling is supposed to have the best "honey toast," which probably isn't saying all that much considering how mediocre I've found desserts in Taiwan to be. I might have my stories mixed up here, but I heard my aunt talking about Dazzling and how it was started by the daughter of a wealthy businessman here in Taiwan ... her father gave her money to invest, and she put it into Dazzling, which is now a chain restaurant of sorts.

Each of the Dazzling Cafés has its own character and flavor. There's the Café (which itself has four different locations: Pink, Mint, Sunshine and Sky), there's the Shabu Shabu restaurant, the Thai Café, and the Champagne Bar. There's also a jewelry/accessories shop that sells Dazzling-branded merchandise.

My friend and I stumbled into Dazzling Café Mint (No. 3, Lane 248, Zhong Xiao East Road, Section 3) on Saturday night in search of some pasta.

I ordered an apple ginger fruit tea (about $4.75) to start, which didn't taste much of ginger and not much of apple, either. It was weird, but it didn't taste bad.

I decided to give their "Provence Chicken Risotto" ($9) a shot, since I love risotto when it's well-cooked, and I'd seen a segment on the local news here on risotto and its rising popularity. [I found it rather amusing; they interviewed a restaurant guest ... this was a random restaurant, not Dazzling, and he said, "It's not rice ... but it's not pasta ..." A new wonder!] I imagined what the chicken would look like atop the creamy risotto: herby, maybe tossed with a few tomatoes.

No Provence chicken.

It was basically a chicken chop (I don't know what else to call it ... "chicken chops" -- my name for it, not Taiwan's -- are really popular here; they're I guess what the American call chicken fried steak, except more tender and battered) atop a bowl of undercooked risotto mixed with green bean pieces. It wasn't great.

My friend got the Mentaiko Spaghetti ($9.33), which was spaghetti in a cream sauce tossed with those little red fish eggs you find in sushi, etc. 

Here's a close-up:

This idea is completely new to me, and I'm not sure why I've never seen it in the U.S., because it tastes really good! My guess is that most people would be somewhat squeamish about it, or at least not thrilled with the idea (I was a little skeptical myself), but it was yummy.

We shared a plate of truffle fries ($7), which were phenomenal ... I only wish we weren't so full and had been able to finish it!

Next stop ... honey toast! Maybe.

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