Steak at Cafe Onion, not Mr Onion (Taipei)

January 6, 2014 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

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Well that was embarrassing.

We were looking for a restaurant near Taipei’s Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station and thought we were going to a steakhouse called Mr Onion. Instead, we ended up at a steakhouse called Cafe Onion. Both look similar and have similar menus, and both supposedly originated from Taipei’s Tianmu district. As it turned out, they used to be part of the same family business. Of course, once a lot of money was made, the brothers in the family naturally turned on each other went their separate ways. Cafe Onion remained, but Mr Onion was also born. To matters more confusing, they tend to have branches very close to one another.

So to cut a long story short, we went to Cafe Onion, located on the 11th floor of the Zhongxiao SOGO. It wasn’t, however, until we saw the menu that we realised we were in the wrong place. Oh well. We were hungry so it didn’t really matter.

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Cafe Onion has been around for more than 2 decades, which suggests the food must be pretty good. But I also suspect its popularity has something to do with the affordable prices and the extensive meal sets. We’re talking sets from as cheap as NT$499 that offer steak, bread, salad, appetizer, soup, dessert and a beverage.

Here’s a sample of the menu.

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As you can see, they have an extensive selection of steaks, as well as chicken, pork, lamb and fish. Pastas and rice dishes can be found for those not into meat. Some of the better quality steaks can go up to NT$799, and there are also massive slabs of meat for sharing that can go up to as much as NT$3960 for 101oz of beef.

We went with a beef set and a lamb set, with one being a full set of seven items and a discounted set with five items. Photo time.

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Bread rolls

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Salmon salad

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Escargot appetizer

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Onion soup

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Seafood tomato soup

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US Rib-eye steak

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Lamb chops

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Dessert

How was it? I don’t know whether Mr Onion is any good, but Cafe Onion was horrible. One of the worst dining experiences I’ve had in Taiwan. The bread rolls were cold, plain and lacked freshness. The salmon was average, the escargot was rubbery and the soups were lukewarm. The beef steak was incredibly chewy and difficult to bite through in areas and the lamb had that strong lamb smell that puts a lot of people off. And the dessert was pretty upsetting too. But at least there was a lot of food for the price.

Did I miss something? Surely a restaurant of this quality cannot be raking in the bucks as reports claim. I’ve heard Mr Onion is vastly superior, and I guess I will need to try to confirm.

4/10

Details

Cafe Onion (洋蔥)

Website: http://www.cafe-onion.com/

Address: SOGO Zhongxiao Branch, Level 11