By Uvia Chang
Translated by Anna Yang
189, FuXuan Rd, Xitun Dist
Hours: Tue-Fri 11 am-8 pm
Sat-Sun 9 am-8 pm
"Carpe diem", which in Latin means "seize the day", also sounds a bit like "coffee shop" in Chinese. This establishment is spacious and luminous, with a giant wooden shelf in the middle providing some partial shade from the sunlight. The outside landscaped yard has a sandbox, pond and slides, creating a family-friendly environment that welcomes customers of all ages.
Head chef Chiang, who once studied cookery at Le Cordon Bleu Australia and worked at restaurants in Sydney, has brought his own international cuisine concepts back to Taiwan. The delicacies he offers include unique dishes with exotic elements, such as Middle Eastern Lamb Kebab (NT$200), with the scrumptious, aromatic, fresh flavors of spices, plus the perfect sides of crunchy cucumbers and sour cream sauce.
Duka Seasonal Vegetables and Salad (NT$240) is prepared with spices and nuts, mixed with seasonal vegetables and kumquat sauce. The Stir-fried Matsusaka Pork Linguine (NT$290) and BBQ Pork Hamburger (NT$260) are cooked at low temperatures. The dripping heated pork fat in the former dish is great, and not overly greasy, when blended with the pasta, while the burger is prepared with handmade ciabatta and sea salt-seasoned pork, plus fresh and filling lettuce, mustard and sour pickles.
The various beverage choices here include coffees, herbal teas and juices, and customers can also enjoy freshly-made bread.