Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Madam Rose Coffee & Tea Salon

We came upon this place after seeing about it from magazine while having lunch at Aunt Stella a few months ago. Since we loved afternoon tea, we just made our way on this elegant place tea house. Madam Rose is design fully inherited the characteristic of European palace style, showing some ornaments, classical music, high ceiling are hand detailed in gold. every detail of the architecture and decor, and the best marbles. This sensual elegance and classical design is very French and you either love it or hate it. With its fine fabric, textures and colors combined in the extravagant classical Victorian style.
As you enter the lobby has a wow factor, you’ll admire the lofty space with its elegant staircase. Like I said the elegant art deco interior is stunning and makes you feel so glamorous to be there.
When you walk in, the place itself is a really pretty, comfortable furnishings and lavish displays of tea product including varieties of the French brands Mariage Frères, Dammann Freres and finebone porcelain. Straight ahead you can see the tea room with its marble floor.
We make a reservation before coming here and they are kindly enough to give us a very nice seating area. Specially when they know that your not from Taipei. We were greeted at the door by the staff and shown to our seats. We were seated at a table next to the window, with lovely views of the garden and the fountain. Its comfortable enough to indulge the afternoon tea.
Madam Rose offers classic dining amidst the grandeur of European ambiance. Even coffee-tea pots and tableware come with Versace China porcelain. So if you are addicted brand of Versace this is a place for you. There is an extensive menu with deluxe afternoon tea set, as well as a la carte items such as a waffle, sandwiches and cakes.
We began our visit by enjoying a 2 fantastic French High Tea for includes a three tiered set selection of sweet and savoury delicacies, serviced with tea and fresh coffee and tempting those with a sweet tooth.
The top plate was a freshly sliced of watermelon, pineapple, manzinitas or tiny green apple and peach.
The middle plate had a white roll cake, canelli, macaroon, fruit jelly and fruits tart on it.
The bottom plate held mini bacon and cheese tart, tuna burger, raisin scone and small vegetable sandwiches or canape, rose jelly jam and butter.
 A light refreshing mini fruit jelly.
The second three tiered  is similar with the first one.
The second layer had a almond chiffon and confections on it.
The third layer almost similar on our first order of three tiered featured sandwich and pastries.
We also try their ice cream and fruit waffle for my son, they were so moist and delicious.
As usual, we have our tea and coffee. The earl grey milk tea being served in a gorgeous Versace Le Jardin tea set. And like always, it was top notch.
Then I’ll have that, a cup of espresso macchiato is pretty simple, espresso beverages and outstandingly delicious.
Marco Polo tea it came with Versace Medusa Blue and Red tea set.
Assam Superior G.F.O.P. Tea has a nice, strong malty aroma and taste.
The service standard is high with a very calm atmosphere, it was clear that presentation is important. We were not harassed to leave and so we don't stay for that long. A good value high tea offering a generous serving of both sweet and savoury treats. Everything melted in our mouths as we emptied the plates. We like this place and plan to go again to try the full set meal course for a very special occasion. I highly recommend Madam Rose as this is a perfect execution. Worth to visit as we enjoy the Saturday afternoon.
Madam Rose Coffee &Tea Salon-玫瑰夫人
No. 77, Section 3, Nanjing (Nanking) East Road, Taipei City
Contact No: 026608-1333

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Old England

They called this guest house and restaurant as The Old England. Well it wasn't old, is one of the newest house building and most visited place in Cing Jing Nantou, charms from the moment you set eyes on it, especially when the weather is clear.
Old England is full of character with its charming Tudor style exterior and traditional interior decor. The intimate and sophisticated public areas make the hotel ideal for relaxing out of the city.
The rustic, homely appearance of the building set amongst its own secluded garden area, fountain ,statues , and the clock tower can been seen.
They even manage to mimic the English Tudor style faux chimney with dark terracotta timber roof and beams. Just the perfect environment to attract customers.
Regretable there is no view from inside the restaurant, but the view from the parking lot is the best to see the mountain terrain. Behind the stable block are the entrances to the lavatories. Along the lavatory wall, beside a narrow path. If you can manage to walk on the terrace with decking and covered seating area it is absolutely dazzling.
The mansion has a separate guest house with full dining and living area. When I walked in, it was like being transported into England, however if you never been to Europe you really get this feeling, it's beautiful in here. You'd think you were really transported magically to England! When I was looking around, one thing it caught my eyes is the fireplace it stand on the middle of  restaurant. But then when I'm tried to warm up my hand, I found it just a decoration. Since it was built in the cold and snowy mountain region, we should attached the real thing and functionable. The fireplace is a very vital part and proving warmth and comfort during cold weather isn't it? The ambiance of the restaurant is intimate and cozy-elegant look.
The dining tables are scattered around and the tables are too closed from each other. And a buffet table with enough heating elements to keep the entire area, I'm kidding.
Since it's everyone has gone, I got opportunity to sneak around the other dining section. If you are planning to  dine here just book this table in advanced and not too noisy when its packed. This place is flocked with families during weekend.
The Old England featured one of the best weekend buffet style  in the region, offers a selection of European and some Chinese cuisine. I was disappointed, we come here for afternoon tea set meal but they provide a eat all you can for amount NT$450 or 475 per person with a small selection in the buffet table. The quality of food slipped and the sideshows became unbearable before the closing on the noon snack. We were seated beside the bar and people are walking around us. After 30 minutes the staff came in to inform we should finish our meal at 5 o'clock and they will start to prepare for dinner. They should let us to know before going inside specially it was 4 o'clock when we started. However we still had time to eat in rush. We got pears in red wine and seasonal salad were ok.
And I had on my plate for the next round was a mixed of creamy broiled fish, roasted herb chicken, spicy squid, and sauteed mushroom was delicious.
The croquembouche or puff pastry, a small pastries filled with cream was nice.
For my last plate I had a baguette with cheese and smoked chicken, puff pastry, chocolate tart, and frozen pumpkin mousse cake.
I then moved on to the hot blueberry tea.
Green tea and ricotta cheese chocolate tart.
The texture of chocolate cake it wasn't soft and its very cold and dry but still delicious.
A decadent pumpkin pie with creamy pumpkin mousse filling on top.
The chocolate tart was extremely smooth and creamy. It melt on your palate and slid down your throat gently. It was the best dessert amongst all the other sweets on offer. A few more that I could remember but didn’t take photos of pasta in green color, sauteed vegetables, steamed chicken, beef stew, bread and cheese, walnut rice, soup of the day, they serve a range of tea and coffee on the bar.
Verdict; The service was good they always keep your table clean. As many will tell you, it has a fabulous restaurant. While the quality of the food is equally good and some just bland. The atmosphere it was noisy and chaotic and not elegant at all, at the very end you realized your dinning in a very ordinary buffet restaurant. The Old England it is more of an English themed guest house if not a bit tad. But priced higher than the Music Villa and Shangrila hanging resort. However it was a good place for photographer and this would be a great place to explore.
The Old England-老英格蘭莊園
N0.20-2, 20-2 Shouting Ln, Da Tong Village, Ren-ai Township Nantou County 546. Taiwan
Contact No: 049-2802169

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Margaret's Garden Hazy Cafe

Margaret's Garden overlooks a spectacular valley vista and with the awe-inspiring view mountain peaks of Nantou. The entrance to the restaurant was decorated with  flowers, hanging chime, stone table and chairs. The restaurant is also basically painted with the color of purple, which made it fit much more naturally into the garden landscape.
An arrangement of blue, purple and pink flowers in a glass water vase.
The restaurant is extremely creating a romantic and lovely dining ambience, and has specialized in Yunnan and Thai cuisine in colorful presentation. Whether you are health conscious or you want a substantial meal on their menu.
The dining tables are filled with decorated daisy flowers.
On to the table, we ordered the shrimp tomato cucumber salad with sweet red chili glaze sauce. I can say they were fresh. The salad had this sweet yet spicy sauce and it was just great. Its beautiful colours isn't it?
Even a large bowl of soup or eggs and tomato always hit the spot.
Tender smoked duck breast comes in very thin slivers of what tasted like smoked ham to me.
We also had a stir fry cabbage its grown on this mountain region. It taste very fresh and organic.
To end off what was a very nice and filling lunch, we had coffee and tea. The iced Vienna espresso was presented with a mug of coffee, a glass filled with whipped cream to top of chocolate in a dish was all perfect blend.
The almond milk tea its good to shared for 2 people. The tea and almond was very creamy and fragrant.
I promptly ordered a hot coffee, I was very appreciative of this rich a cup of caramel machiatto coffee drink.  It warmed me up fast and it was perfect during winter season.
Yummy homemade popsicles or fruit pops as we call them. And you may find them beside the Starbucks in Cing Jing area. They were brightly sweet, colored, ice on a stick and it came in different fruit flavors.
Our favorite part and the reason why we always come to Cing Jing. Beacause of this wasabi deep fry mushrooms, it was crisp bites of spicy wasabi powder from Alishan was blow you mind its delicious. If you are a deep fry mushroom mania. I recommend to try this fried mushroom and you may see this store or stall in Wushe area.
Overall we loved the Margaret's Garden and would definitely return. The service is pretty quick and what we appreciated most was that the flavors were simultaneously simple and complex, the ingredients was very fresh, and always very satisfying.
Margaret's Garden Hazy Cafe
No.39-1, Xinyi Ln., Datung Vil., Ren’ai Township, Nantou County
Contact No: 049-2802923

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cha for Tea Hsinchu

A newly open branch at A.Mart & B&Q Hsinchu. Been to this place for many times. The first time my husband brought us at the main branch in Jhunan for lunch,  The decor is a little dark and it has a trendy, warm and intimate ambiance turned out to be a great experience in a such a serene and unpretentious atmosphere. The menu has food options, mostly some sets offered. Also a large choice of teas to choose from, there were different items in the dessert in small but reasonable portions.
We always choose the classic and seasonal meat set which include the salad and side dishes, soup, drinks and dessert. The appetizers were green tea taro with ten lu perilla plum to warm our pallete.
The tea flavored wanton soup just taste decent.
The cha's pork steamed buns filled with a juicy pork ball.
Green tea shrimp shu-mai. It was seasoned, certainly, a pork or shrimp shumai is pretty less in fat and healthy. It's nice and juicy on the inside and doughy and chewy on the outside.
King seasonal steamed pork with deliciously chopped vegetables. It was soft, nice and brown that was yummy for how simple it was.
I had the osmanthus tea steamed fish was so good!
Steamed fried pork dumpling. The dumplings themselves were crispy, the dipping sauce added a black vinegar and soy sauce and silver thread of ginger kick to the rich dumplings.
Strawberry green tea waffle. The green tea waffle had a nice texture, not too light and not too dense, it's enough to hold up to the strawberry ice cream, a scoop of sweet mashed potato and fresh sliced of strawberry with strawberry sauce.
I go for leicha with taro rice balls and tremella for my dessert it was pretty good too and healthy.
I also had the guava tea that it was pretty soothing smell the aroma.
My daughter had her matcha lattee, so simple, and so refreshing. The red bean is thick, comforting, health boosting sip. And taro green milk tea with QQ (no photo) for my son which always taste fresh, refreshing, and delicious!.
A large portion of caffe latte.
Such an authentic tea house, every staff seemed very happy to be there, we totally enjoyed the vibe. The food is usually healthy, less in oil and good for the body. We definitely come here every Sunday afternoon.
Cha For Tea-天仁喫茶趣
No. 469, Section 1 Gongdaowu Road Hsinchu City
新竹市公道五路二段469號 (新竹愛買百貨內1F)
Contact No: 03-5728345