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Fortress Cafe
Blueberry cheesecake

Fortress Cafe

Fortress Cafe
(NT$350)Seafood paella

Fortress Cafe

Fortress Cafe

By Jerri Graham
Translated by Miko Liu

98, YanPing South Rd., 2F
Hours: 11 am-11 pm
(first Monday of the month rest)
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.
Parking available.
MRT: XiMen exit 5

On a recent afternoon, the cloth-covered tables of the Fortress Cafe were occupied with a few lingering diners. The light that filtered in through two large-paned windows warmed the wood floors of the room and made this XiMenDing cafe a haven from the world below.

The manager showed us to a table next to the bar and within minutes we received a beautifully presented plate of tapas. The day's tapas plate (NT$250) featured thin slices of French bread drizzled with olive oil and served with marinated anchovies and an olive tapinade. A dish of mushrooms stir-fried in a tangy and sweet balsamic vinegar sauce were nestled next to a pile of field greens and slivers of red onions. We washed it down with a glass of made-to-order sangria. The best part was the pitted and peeled lychee at the bottom of the glass. It had soaked up just enough wine to give this Spanish-inspired, Taiwan-influenced cocktail the perfect little kick.

Next up was the Seafood Paella (NT$350). It is served in a cast iron skillet with pieces of chicken, squid and prawns that are large enough to require a fork and knife--this isn't the imitation paella some restaurants try to flog. Using imported saffron and spices, the chef has achieved a balance of flavors that few can pull off. An array of red peppers, tomatoes, and a Taiwan twist of soybeans are folded into the brightly colored rice, making it mouthwateringly beautiful.

As any lunch would not be complete without dessert, so we ordered the Blueberry Cheesecake (NT$150). The cheesecake is served next to a hand-sized flower created with a melange of fruit syrups. This is cheesecake that isn't eaten, but sensually experienced. A scrape of the tines in the raspberry, kiwi, and chocolate sauces, in addition to the popping blueberries of the cheesecake, took my mouth to a new high.

Fortress Cafe serves up beautifully presented meals in sizes that won't have you reaching for the top button of your 501s and at prices that won't leave you skint. The food, atmosphere and presentation make going back to the Fortress Cafe not a matter of if, but when.

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