By Eden Lin, translated by Ann Lee
Photos by Andy Lin & C'est Bon
23, ZhongShan N Rd, Sec 1; (02) 2531-6408
Hours: 12-2:30 pm, 6:30-10 pm
MRT: Taipei Main Station, #2 exit
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.
Phone reservations only. Set-meal based.
Lunch NT$1,500/person; dinner NT$2,000/person
Taiwan's "Queen of the Kitchen", A-Jiao (Ms. Zhuang), and hotshot photographer Xie Chun-de got together and created C'est Bon, a classy French eatery with a lot to offer. A long pond sits quietly at the front entrance of the restaurant; green leaves scattered on the water's surface seem to weave a serene blanket, welcoming customers inside. The cozy indoor space stretches on for only six tables, and the bright white walls are lined with stones of various sizes and speckled with some of Xie's own photography, set in thick, black frames.
Extremely selective about her ingredients, A-Jiao insists on visiting their place of origin before she uses them in the restaurant--this is why you can't find her in the restaurant half the time, she explained. The chef says, "You must have a relationship with each ingredient--know where it comes from and how it grows in order to understand its distinctive features, and 'get along' with it." It's not hard to see that she "gets along" with her ingredients, as all of her dishes tend to be delicious and unique.
Every month brings a new dish that always seems to keep customers surprised and happy. October's dish, Fu-Cai Meatballs, is made with diced vegetables that are mixed with meatballs and decorated with red beans soaked in plum juice. A-Jiao also spruces up traditional dishes; she adds sea urchins from Hokkaido to a classic tofu soup, making it even more savory and elegant. Apart from table dishes, C'est Bon serves a selection of exquisite desserts, most of which take a lot of time and attention to prepare and finish. Choose either White Fungus and Rock Candy or Braised Bird's Nest. They both have an refreshing, sweet aftertaste that will satisfy your sweet tooth.