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HOME > CENTRAL TAIWAN > DINING

COMPASS MAGAZINE > January 2010
 

Four Unique Restaurants on Taichung's Art Street--Orange Cat, Orange Cat , Tung Hua Shun Hakka Home Cooking, Firenze

BWords and translated by Naomi Lai

 

Orange Cat

 

Orange Cat

3, Lane 16, YiShu St (Art Street), Longjing Township, Taichung County
(04) 2631-2868
Hours: 6-10 pm; weekends/holidays 12-10 pm
(closed Mondays)
Credit card not accepted.
10% service charge.
Wireless Internet available.

Are you a cat person? If you are, you won't want to miss a visit to the Orange Cat. Just look for the restaurant with a big black cat painting in the Art Street neighborhood and you're at the right place. As soon as you enter, you'll be surrounded by the store's eight in-house cats, either purring for your attention or snuggling up for a cuddly nap. The restaurant, previously named Cats at Lane 53, has been situated in the Art Street area for almost a decade and is now run by the cat-loving Chen Ying-chu. All dishes in the restaurant are handmade, part of Chen's love and commitment to cooking. You can get a great deal on regular meal sets (NT$245 for pasta, NT$275 for baked dishes) with soup, bread, main course, beverages, and a signature Orange Cat light dessert specially made of fruit jelly. You can also upgrade to a deluxe meal set (NT$345 pasta, NT$375 baked dishes) and select any drink on the menu (add NT$30 for the Cat's special fruit ice tea) and a dessert of homemade creme pudding, cookies, cheese cake or brownies. There is also a long list of hot and cold beverages plus homemade snacks and waffles, and, for NT$200, you can enjoy a snack and beverage from the menu.
A: A cat nodding off on the chair. Every year, Orange Cat holds a cat photography competition and the winning photos are made into a calendar for the following year.
B: The famous black cat wall painting.
C: A popular main course is the Baked Tomato Sauce Meat Sauce Pasta, made with fresh tomatoes. Another popular selection is the Cat's Special Fruit Tea, which is one liter of iced tea topped with fresh kiwi and apples. You can spend a whole day nursing this drink.

Orange Cat Orange Cat

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Red Brick Bridge

 

Red Brick Bridge

(04) 2632-7328
71, YiShu St (Art Street), Longjing Township, Taichung County
Hours: 11 am-9 pm (closed Tuesdays)
Credit cards not accepted.
No service charge.

This quiet little cafe, hidden along busy Art Street, contains a world of antiques, art, pottery and curry. As soon as you enter, you'll be struck by the simple decor, large wooden tables and the friendliness of the owners, Hsu Cheng-shiung and Chen Ching-yi. You are immediately immersed in a different world, where the outside bustle melts away, allowing a sense of inner peace to resurface. Opened over 20 years ago as a clothing and pottery store, Red Brick Bridge only last year started selling the owner's favorites--curry and ramen. Ramen choices include Tomato Beef Noodles (NT$90), Chicken Leg Noodles (NT$90) and Beef Soup Noodles (NT$60). The curry prepared here uses imported Indian spices adjusted to Taiwanese taste buds and cooked with seasonal vegetables. Curry dishes include Beef Curry (NT$100), Yogurt Vegetable Curry (NT$90), Bacon Curry (NT$90) and Vegetable Curry (NT$70), and curry consumption has kept their family healthy, according to Mr. Hsu.
A: Simple decor for simple dining in a simple cafe on a simple day is a great comfort in this overly-complicated modern era.
B: Mustard Chicken Curry (NT$100) has a boneless chicken leg, marinaded in yellow mustard and then fried until the skin is crisp. The sweet vegetables and curry perfectly complement each other.
C: Beef Noodles (NT$90) are prepared ramen-style and soaked in a clear but flavorful stock prepared by Hsu from scratch. A little secret for diners: Try ordering a mixture of the ramen with curry sauce.

Red Brick Bridge Red Brick Bridge

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Tung Hua Shun Hakka Home Cooking

Tung Hua Shun Hakka Home Cooking

62, YiShu (Art Street), 2F, Longjing Township, Taichung County
(04) 2632-1982
Hours: 5-9 pm (please call first to reserve lunches)
Credit cards not accepted.
No service charge.

Hakka food is one of culinary Taiwan's delights, and homemade authentic Hakka flavors are definitely the best way to enjoy this cuisine. Here, there are simple wooden tables and benches, and Hakka artwork hanging on the walls, while friendly hostess Ms. Hong makes the place feel like a friend's dining room. The majority of diners are regulars from local universities and hospitals, and you only need a few bites to know why they keep coming back. Ms. Hung learned her amazing cooking skills from watching her mother cook as a child and today incorporates that same family love into her own cooking, providing signature dishes such as Hakka-Style Boiled Chicken (NT$360), Pork Stewed with Pickled Vegetables (NT$280) and Radish and Fish Soup (NT$300). Over the winter you must also try the Radish Rice Dumpling (NT$30), a traditional Hakka-style rice dumpling, that uniquely uses fresh radishes. Don't forget to call this place first to make sure it's open.
A: The restaurant is decorated with a traditional Hakka family ambiance that is comfortable and inviting.
B: The restaurant also sells several types of Hakka products, from dry goods and traditional seasonings to famous Hakka-style print cloth.
C: The Ginger Juice and Crystal Sugar Duck Stew (NT$600/large, NT$350/small, please pre-order) is made with ginger juice, rice wine, crystal sugar, duck and sesame oil, and is a winter soup that will warm you up in a few sips. The Pork Leg and String Noodles (NT$480) uses a whole pig leg, placed on string noodles specially handmade by a notable 80-year-old Hakka woman. The Sugar Cane Stewed Pork (NT$300) is stewed with a stick of sugar cane for added sweetness.

Tung Hua Shun Hakka Home Cooking Tung Hua Shun Hakka Home Cooking

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Firenze

Firenze

14, Lane 38, YiShu St (Art Street), Longjing Township, Taichung County
(04) 2633-0808, 2633-6051
Hours: 11 am-10 pm
Credit cards not accepted.
10% service charge. Wireless Internet.
Minimum NT$100 per person.
Online reservations.

Opened 10 years ago, this restaurant has become an icon of fine dining along Art Street with its chic red, black and golden colors and high-quality Italian-French cuisine served under the elaborate crystal chandeliers. Two meal sets are offered, including the Gourmet Dining set (NT$320-380) with a spaghetti, rice or lasagne as a main course; and the Exquisite Steak set (NT$680-1,980), with sparkling wine and a steak or meat-based main course. Both meal sets include bread, appetizer, salad, soup of the day, dessert and a drink. In order to give diners a truly exquisite dining experience, the owner, Stephan, insists that all courses must be handmade with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Appetizers, salads and desserts are all prepared with what is the best in the kitchen on that day. Aside from the meal sets there is also thin-crust pizza with Italian or Taiwanese flavors (NT$160-340), appetizers (NT$200-240), salads (NT$150-280), coffee and desserts. Desserts include Tiramisu made with imported Italian Mascarpone cheese, and award-wining cheesecake which comes in various different flavors.
A: Margherita Pizza (NT$160 for 7-inch, NT$240 for 11-inch) is an authentic Italian thin-crust pizza topped with fresh tomatoes. Stephan recommends rolling it up to eat it for a layered texture, between the soft and crispy part of the crust.
B: Baked Spring Chicken in French Traditional Style (NT$680) features a whole spring chicken served with two sauces. The meat is tender and sweet, but not oily, while the sauces add a fresh richness to the dish.
C: Spaghetti Cream Tomato Cream Sauce and Seafood (NT$380) is made with a French-style tomato cream sauce named "Aurora" because of its color, resembling the rising sun.

Firenze Firenze

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