By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Anna Yang
161, BoGuan Rd, West Dist
Hours: Tue-Sun 6 pm-12 am (last order 11 pm), Fri-Sat 6 pm-2 am (last order 1 am), closed Mon
Although the term "fusion cuisine" is probably overused, there seems to be an unlimited variety of delectable culinary inventions that a skilled, creative chef can create by melding different cuisines. Bistro Corazon is a perfect place to sample the chefs' personal East-meets-West approach in a very accessible, unintimidating setting that also serves as a chilled-out late-night drinking spot.
This cozy bar and restaurant opposite the Science Museum complex was opened almost a year ago by youthful business partners Hiro Chen and Jed Domigpe, respectively in charge of food and mixed drinks. From the beginning, Hiro's skills helped generate a small but excellent menu of creative appetizers and entrees. A couple months ago, the arrival of French chef Axel Baracassa has added yet more experience to this team and resulted in a revamped menu that combines old favorites with fresh offerings.
Among eight pasta and risotto choices (NT$320-380), a great pasta example of the fusion approach is the savory Mentaiko Pasta (NT$360) whose creamy sauce is made with Japanese mentaiko salted fish roe and squid. New entree Crispy Pork Stew with Baked Potato (NT$400) is a French-Taiwanese combo, using a star anise, soy sauce and wine marinade for the pork, cooked with rosemary, thyme, garlic onions, celery, carrots and potatoes.
The rest of the menu includes more Asian-leaning dishes like the Yakitori Platter (NT$240) and western favorites, from main entrees (served with a weekly-changing soup) like Ribeye Steak (NT$880), Lamb Chops with Quinoa (NT$550) and the new Pan-Fried Fish with Asparagus Cream Sauce (NT$450), to the new Tartiflette (NT$150), a gratin-style appetizer from the Savoie region of France with potatoes, onions, bacon, cream and cheese.
With a popular six-seat bar facing the kitchen downstairs and an intimate-feeling upstairs dining area, Corazon is a nice place to linger into the late evening with food or drinks, which include 8-10 bottled beers (NT$120-200) and 1664 draft (NT$150, 500cc) plus cocktails (NT$180-200) and about 10 Old/New World wines (NT$700-2200/bottle). Special events--from wine nights to special cuisine themes--are also regular held on Fridays and Saturdays (check Facebook for the latest).