Trevor Stayer and John Chang
Low-profile Casa Uno showcases world-class pastry talent
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
189, WeiDao Rd, North District
Hours: 12- 8 pm Wed-Sun (only tel. orders Mon-Tue)
Credit cards not accpeted.
No service charge.
Parking lot available.
Taichung's culinary scene sometimes will yield some very surprising finds. For example, who would've guessed that over the past year a Canadian Olympic silver medalist has been quietly delighting local customers with creative pastries at a pleasant bakery/tea-time spot on a quiet city lane? In this case, we're referring to the Culinary Olympics, pastry chef and former Culinary Team Canada and Culinary Team Alberta member Trevor Stayer and his current place of business, Casa Uno.
The unassuming Edmonton, Alberta native--holder of long list of individual and team international gold and silver medals (including 2004 Culinary Olympics team Silver Medal)--came to Taichung over a year ago via friend, fellow pastry chef and Casa Uno partner John Chang, a native of Changhua who spent eight years in Canada learning his trade and met Stayer on the job in Edmonton.
Casa Uno is a spacious oasis on the WeiDao Road-WuChang Street corner, just meters from JinHua North Road, and has seating for about 20 inside and along a pleasant covered wooden balcony area that allows nice breezes to waft through. A large, immaculate kitchen also hosts regular Wednesday and Friday baking classes (including kids' sessions).
Five days a week, customers enjoy this setting with a snack or tea time, with desserts like the best-selling Caramelized Banana Chocolate Cake (NT$100 slice, NT$699 6-inch cake), plus tiramisu, cupcakes, brownies and Panna Cotta (regular, chocolate or green tea). The top tea-time option is the Small or Big Sampler Platter (NT$400, NT$600, respectively good for 2-3 or 4-6 people) which comes with a 10-percent discount on drinks like coffee or tea. There's also a healthy NT$150 sandwich containing veggies, fruit, egg, cheese and other goodies.
Beyond this, the pastry-chef duo offer a variety of cakes and pastries by order (at least 1 day), ranging from Apple Pie and Carrot Cake to the sinfully-rich Snickers Cake (NT$560). The biggest attention-getter, though, is Stayer's unprecedented invention, the Bubble Milk Tea Cake (NT$620), a light mouse cake that uses black tea, vanilla sauce and tea jelly to provide a pastry version of Taichung's famed "jen ju nai cha". Stayer notes that the "jen ju's" here aren't tapioca balls--which get hard with freezing--but crunchy chocolate ones. However, like all of Casa Uno's selections, this creative delight keeps customers coming back for more.
Right: Snickers cake (NT$560)
Right: Bubble milk tea mousse cake (NT$620)