For over five years, German national, Michael Wendel and his Wendel Backerei and Cafe have been a household name in the Tianmu area. The unadorned, small and cozy eatery served up a smorgasbord of some of the finest and most authentic European breads, cakes, pies, pastries and pretzels to be found anywhere in Taipei.
While Wendel is still baking up a storm, for the past two months he's been doing so from a much more eye-catching location. A revamped and renovated factory that once produced vinyl records a stone's throw away from the original store now houses his newly opened and renamed eatery, Wendel's German Bakery and Bistro.
Set in its own grounds, the new location has a more spacious interior, which makes for less cramped dining, and Wendel's new joint also has a pleasant patio/beer garden, where diners unfazed by the scorching summer heat can enjoy a cold German lager or two.
PHOTO: GAVIN PHIPPS, TAIPEI TIMES
The venue and decor may have changed, but the restaurant's selection of fine German and European-style fare remains, thankfully, unaltered. It still offers early birds and night owls a good choice of reasonably priced sweet and savory foods.
For the morning crowd, Wendel's serves up a pretty good and moderately filling range of breakfasts from NT$100 upwards.
The lunchtime crowd can choose from a selection of a seven dishes, which are changed on a weekly basis and range in price from NT$200 to NT$400. These meals include staples such as varying varieties of pastas and German sausages and come with the option of a salad bar and bottomless refills of soft drinks and teas and coffees.
In the evening Wendel's opens up its appetizer and a-la-carte menus, from which diners can choose a wide selection of European cuisine. Some of the more popular dishes include pan-fried breaded pork schnitzel (NT$320) and bratwurst with wheat beer sauce (N$280).
Genuine lovers of German chow are treated to a special feed on the third Thursday of every month, when Wendel closes his kitchen and only cooks up his traditional German pork knuckle -- Haxen (NT$480). Taking a minimum of three hours to prepare and not available anywhere else in Taiwan, the monthly meal has already proven to be a huge hit. Reservations are now needed and diners have been known to come from as far away as Taichung just to sample to the dish.
Since the restaurant also serves as a bakery, diners who don't fancy anything from the menu can always order fresh breads, cakes and pastries from the bakery adjacent to the restaurant's garden.
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