Coffee at La Crema (Taipei)

January 15, 2012 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel

Man I miss the coffee in Sydney, and I’m not even much of a coffee guy.  After living in the UK and travelling around Europe and America, I have come to appreciate just how good the coffee in Sydney is.

What I didn’t realise was that Taiwan has a lot of cafes (not named Starbucks, Dante or Mr Brown, though some of the “gourmet” ice coffee  there isn’t actually too bad) and some of these places take quite a bit of pride in their coffee too.

A very popular cafe around the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall MRT station is called La Crema.  It’s a surprisingly spacious joint in a side alley filled with restaurants and cafes, and the decor inside has a old-school feel, with wooden furniture, a bar, a record player, jazz music, and from what I hear, live performances on occasion.  On Friday and Saturday nights the place is reportedly loud and crowded.

La Crema has a wide assortment of coffees made from fresh imported coffee beans.  Espressos, lattes, mochas — they’ve got all the usual stuff but also more exotic gourmet coffee from Brazil, Guatemala and so forth.  The specialities are apparently the latte and the espresso with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.  Their biscuits and cheese cakes are also popular.

Here are photos of what we got: a latte, an iced coffee and a plate of home-made biscuits.  We would have gone for some cake but we were actually coming off a big meal at Ma Shan Tang around the corner.

The biscuits were pretty good but not spectacular (they were better at San Kwai Tang Cafe near Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall MRT station) but the coffee was indeed excellent, reminding me a little of the awesomeness of some of the cafes in Sydney’s Newtown.  In other words, I recommend the place!

If you want to go during off peak times to avoid the crowds, I would recommended going for the afternoon special, which is available Monday to Friday between 1:30 and 5:30.  The special includes a tea, coffee or two espressos, plus either a cheese slice, cheese cake home-made biscuits or a piece of tick toast with spread for NT$160.

Details:

La Crema (克立瑪咖啡館)

Address: No. 45, Lane 280, Guāngfù South Rd, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Nearest MRT: Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall Station — take exit 2 and walk straight until you see Lane 280 and turn right.

Phone: 02-2731-3264

Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12:00-23:00; Friday-Saturday 12:00-23:30

San Kwai Tang Cafe (Taipei)

December 15, 2011 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel

One afternoon we went to this tiny little cafe near the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall MRT station called ‘San Kwai Tang’ (三槐堂).  It’s tucked away in an alley on Roosevelt Road, so inconspicuous that you’d never notice it unless you knew it was one of the most popular places for coffee and cheese cake in all of Taipei.

San Kwai Tang is in this little alley

The cafe itself is neatly decorated with only a few tables for guests.  There is a cool bar with jars and jars of cookies, walls adorned with clippings and chic decorations and artworks.

San Kwai Tang boasts a very comfortable interior

I love their bar

For afternoon tea we ordered their famous cheesecake (NT$70), an assortment of cookies (NT$50) and a tea or two (their coffees are very popular but we’ll have to try them another time).

The cheesecakes are freshly made on premises and very eater-friendly — creamy but not too creamy, a little sweet, a little sour, and the base is a perfect biscuit.  The blueberry jam on top is a wonderful complement.

The four cookies we got (in a set) were also excellent — crispy and flavoursome without being too sweet.  No wonder people often come in to order them by the dozens.

In all, a very satisfying and enjoyable afternoon tea.  I’d definitely recommend it to those in search of a good cheese cake or gourmet coffee.  Check it out if you are in the area or need to rest your legs after a long walk around Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

Details:

San Kwai Tang (三槐堂)

Phone:   (02) 2321 3429

Address: No. 2, Lane 72, Section 1, Roosevelt Road, Taipei

Nearest MRT Station: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (Exit 2 — just walk straight along Roosevelt Road and it’s one of the small lanes on the right about 5 minutes away)

Opening Hours: 12pm-10pm