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COMPASS MAGAZINE > November 2010

Dining in a green garden: Taichung's Western-style garden restaurants--Sun Yat-sen Mansion, D coffee,Magic House

By Niang Chen
Translated by Naomi Lai


Sun Yat-sen Mansion



Sun Yat-sen Mansion

(04) 2377-0808
27, WuQuan W 6th St
Hours: 12-2 pm, 5-9 pm
Reservations must be made 3 days in advance. 10% service charge. Credit cards accepted. Parking lot available.

Low-key and private are words which best describe the Shanghai-style Sun Yat-sen Mansion. The chef serves meals without any menu, giving diners the feeling of dining at home. Here you'll find a fusion of East and West, using chopsticks together with a knife and fork to experience a mixture of creative cuisine developed by the chef with seasonal ingredients such as raw oysters, salmon, scallops, prawns, sea urchins, steak and lamb. Lunch is NT$1,200 and dinner is NT$1,600.

A: The restaurant building mimics Sun Yat-sen's mansion in Shanghai and is surrounded by various native Taiwanese plants such as sweet osmanthus, Taiwanese mango and giant crape-myrtle.

B: The lively-looking Taiwanese plantains in the garden, from Guoxing Township in Nantou County, are a unique trademark for the restaurant, with the clusters of hanging, ready-to-be-picked bananas helping draw diners closer to nature.

C: Youthful but very experienced Chef Chen Ho-yuan creates a variety of creative Continental and French cuisine. You can taste his delicate skills in everything from the ingredients in the chilled soup to the lobster oil and ouzo liquor used his chowders. Other seasonal dishes include Black Pepper Brandy Steak and Scallop with Truffle Sauce.

Sun Yat-sen Mansion Sun Yat-sen Mansion


 D coffee

D coffee

3, TaiZhongGang Rd (Taichung Port Rd), Sec 2
(across from Evergreen Laurel Hotel)
Hours: 11 am-9:30 pm (closed Sundays and government holidays)
Credit cards not accepted.

According to a Chinese proverb, "A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Walking into Tien Chiao Shih Books, you'll quickly lose yourself in a sea of books. Then take the elevator on the right straight to the fifth floor to discover a little tropical garden tucked away from the city. Here, the feathery flying spider-monkey tree ferns (cyathea lepifera), resort-style wood furniture and colorful Japanese carp in the pond give this place a carefree atmosphere where you can come and relax.

A: The light from a Japanese-style lantern creates an elegant, zen-like atmosphere for this quiet garden.

B: Try the Kimchi Hotpot (NT$200), featuring a broth brewed from Japanese seaweed, carrots, radishes, apples and various other vegetables. It is served with sliced meat and sweet, crunchy homemade kimchi from Taitung farms. The thinly-sliced meat should be cooked only slightly and then dipped into the special sauce made from sesame seeds, dried fish, peanut powder and sate sauce.

C: Another delightful dish is the Country Style Poussin Chicken (NT$320 entree, NT$420 set meal). The approximately half-kilogram chicken is rubbed with Mexican chilis, oregano, Italian thyme and rosemary and then roasted with white wine vinegar and butter, giving it a crispy skin. The chicken is served with salt and pepper 25 minutes of roasting.

 D coffee  D coffee


Magic House

Magic House

(04) 2211-1617
213, ZiYou Rd, Sec 3
Hours: 11:30 am-2:30 pm,
5:30-9 pm (closed Mondays)
Credit cards not accepted.
10% service charge.

This "magic house" is hidden in a green forest. Mr. Pu Che-nan and his wife are both gardeners who originally aimed to create a little garden, but ended up with a fabulous restaurant serving fine European country-style cooking. Here you can experience a delicious dining among the fragrant flowers found in the owners' garden of joy.

A: To provide diners with a more relaxing dining environment, the gardens are kept relatively uncut, so that the plants block out the noise from the city with their thick green leaves.

B: The main dining area is hidden behind the hallway and veranda area, providing tranquility and privacy when dining. In this space you can savor the aromas of Italian herbs, and the juicy, tender meat of the Italian Sausage (NT$70).

C: The Saffron Seafood Paella (NT$360) is made with real saffron, shrimp, calamari, clams, fish, beans and asparagus. This dish is popular among local and foreign diners alike. Another popular dish is the Roasted Chicken Leg (NT$260) which is stuffed with rolled oats, cheese and fresh herbs from the garden, then pan-friend and roasted until the chicken leg is tender and the skin is crispy. Even the leftovers are a delightful treat.

Magic House Magic House


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