Citizen Cain only does business for about eight hours each day. For the several regulars the place has attracted in the half year since it opened, that's not quite long enough.
While plans are afoot to open at noon in an attempt to draw the Tunhwa-Renai area lunchtime crowd, the regulars would rather see it stay open past 2am. That's because Citizen Cain is more of a bar than a restaurant, but anyone coming for a drink would be remiss not to sample the menu -- so why not have it open for lunch?
From the menu of sandwiches, pastas and pizzas, to the lounge music lulling from the DJ booth, and a drinks list with its own Belgian beer section, Cain is distinctly different from the row of restaurants and watering holes lining Dongfeng St.
Whether you're wanting a full meal or a bit of bar food, you cannot go far wrong with the hummus. This Taipei rarity is served with a lightly toasted pita that you'll likely need two of -- the bowl holds more hummus than you think it does so you'd better order a second, or third. Cain Chowder and the Cainchetta are also recommended appetizers, but don't miss out on the hummus.
Keeping with the Mediterranean vein, you might want to move on to the falafel on a pita, served with homemade tahini and yoghurt. If you're petering out of pitas after the hummus but have a hankering for the tahini, you would be wise to try the Chicken Cain. Toasted French bread is filled with marinated chicken, grated cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, tomatoes and just enough jalapenos to give it kick, then topped off with tahini.
Roasted potatoes wait patiently to be dipped in a ramekin of, yes, mustard! Finally! A restaurant that sees mustard as the superior condiment that it is.
Address: 67 Dongfeng St, Taipei (台北市東豐街67號)
Open: 5pm to 2am or so
Average meal: NT$300
Details: Credit cards accepted. Menu in English only. Chinese menu coming
Other sandwiches to choose from are a Cain burger, a Caesar sausage dog that's delicious, the Citizen Steak Sandwich and a chicken on a pita (these guys love pita). Perhaps most popular are Cain's pizzas, and for good reason. A flatbread crust is covered with all the things that ought to go on a pizza with nary a pea nor kernel of corn to be found; Italian salami, artichoke hearts, goat cheese, feta, smoked salmon and capers are only a few of the items you'll have to weigh in your decision-making.
The last thing on the menu that is easily digested is the menu itself -- you can actually read it and parts of it are even amusing. The pizza selection begins by saying they've "got some mo' dough' risin!" Here's another palatable tidbit from the menu: "If you are unhappy with your food, we will cover your bill -- that is the Citizen Cain guarantee."