Pig Knuckles Gratin with
Black Chinese Fungus Sweet
Soup with Cream (NT$140)
contains longan fruit, Chinese
red dates, Chinese wolfberries,
brown sugar, whipped cream,
and black Chinese fungus
grown by the owner, making
this is an ice-cold and healthy
Healthy Taiwan White Pine
Vinegar Drink (NT$120) is a
mixture of the tender pine
shoots and natural vinegar.
Its faint pine aroma is very
unique and unforgettable.
Nicole's Cafe: A healthy, creative dining hideaway
By Ruby Wu
Translated by Angel Pu
998, HuanZhong Rd, Sec 1, Beitun District (inside New World Design Center); (04) 2422-7136
Hours: 11:30 am-7 pm; 11:30 am-8 pm (open to 8 pm Sat/Sun, closed Mondays); afternoon tea 2-5 pm
Credit cards accepted. No service charge. Parking lot available. Advance reservations needed for dinner. Guests are required to order at least one drink.
Located amidst HuanZhong Road's many huge furniture stores, this unique, hard-to-find restaurant has hidden itself inside the New World Design Center. To find it, guests first walk through the parking lot, then along a stone path before coming to a stylish building with a beautiful garden.
The restaurant serves both Chinese and Western meals. The Western set meals, prepared by Chef Sam, include a main course (risotto or spaghetti), soup, bread and a drink. Chinese menu items were drawn up and are prepared by the owner Ms. Zhang herself, who has a love of cooking and growing various edible plants, which she uses to develop her creative cuisine. For example, she cooks pig knuckles with bananas, cheese, green beans, sweet peppers and onions. The pig knuckles are cooked until they are so tender that even the bones can be eaten, and its very refreshing flavors go well with side dishes like Chinese vermicelli.
If you want to enjoy a Chinese meal, call in advance for a reservation and ask if the restaurant can come up with a customized set meal for you. After you've dined there a couple of times, you can even take a shot at asking the owner to serve you some dishes not on the menu.
Flowers and trees surround the restaurant, making it a very suitable environment for enjoying an afternoon tea (NT$180), perhaps with a good book. Tea-time items include Cheese Nan bread, fried dishes and drinks. Besides the spacious main dining space, there are various private rooms for small gatherings. The restaurant also sells pre-prepared meal packs like glutinous oil rice and Sweet Soup with Black Chinese Fungus, not to mention Chinese New Year dinners designed to save mothers some work at home.
Right: Herbs and Red Vinegar Chicken Spaghetti (NT$280) features a combination of red wine vinegar and spaghetti that is very refreshing and appetizing to enjoy during the summer.
Left: The meat used in the Pineapple Mutton dish is from New Zealand, and is first cooked with Chinese herbs before being stewed in a vegetable soup. The finished product is not only very tender but also has a pineapple flavor.