Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: The Shannon

Address: 6 Dunhua North Road, Taipei(台北市敦化北路6號)
Telephone: (02) 2772 0948
Open: Sunday to Thursday, 11:30am to 1am, Friday and Saturday, to 2am.
Average meal: Including one drink NT $700
Details: No cover fee, live band, English and chinese menu. Credit cards accepted

By Chris Fuchs  /  STAFF REPORTER

Gaelic lamb chops, seen above, is one of the many dishes served up at The Shannon.

PHOTO COURTESY OF YOGI HOUSE INTERNATIONAL

The manager of The Shannon Irish Pub rang the cowbell and the free liquor flowed.

Of course, it's not every day The Shannon holds a two-hour, all-you-can-drink, open bar. But since this pub, located in the Songshan district of Taipei, had just celebrated its second anniversary last weekend, the general manager from Australia, Darren Hassan thought it was only fitting.

"Cheers mate!"he said, smoking a cigar and sipping a glass of red wine, while greeting customers earlier in the week.

The Shannon is more than just a place to drink, though. Besides beer taps with Guinness, Kilkenny and Carlsberg, as well as a fully-stacked liquor bar, customers also have dozens of dishes to choose from, including bar appetizers like fried calamari rings and chicken fingers, or more traditional Irish fare such as shepherd's pie and Irish stew.

The shepherd's pie, which substitutes lamb with beef, was a decent-sized portion enough for one person. Baked and served in a casserole dish, the filling was made with meat, tomatoes, peas and carrots, cooked into a thick stew. The obligatory mashed potatoes were then smeared on and browned. All in all a safe bet, costing NT$355.

The Irish stew, replete with tender chunks of lamb and vegetables, was more soupy than thick, as was pointed out in the menu. Despite its luke-warm temperature, the seasoning wasn't at all overpowering, allowing the natural flavors of the potatoes and carrots to mix nicely with the lamb. The stew was garnished with barley and served with two slices of rye bread. The cost: NT $375.

The Shannon's menu also features a variety of desserts like Bailey's Irish mousse, employing the velvety Irish cream liqueur as one of its ingredients, as well as warm chocolate walnut brownies, topped with a chocolate sauce made from Bushmills Irish Whiskey. And to follow that, a drink only an Irishman would think up: Irish coffee.

Hassan said The Shannon seeks to please expats with the food and spirits, while at the same exposing Taiwanese to a fresh, new cultural experience.

"It is a familiar setting that seems to work," he said of the pub's decor, which is heavy on the shamrocks and wood, and light on the pretense. "It definitely has a casual feel to it."

In that sense, The Shannon succeeds, evidenced by the diverse crowd it attracts. During the two-hour open bar, customers seemed especially happy after hearing news that a typhoon had caused the Taipei city government to cancel work the next day. "Might as well keep drinking," screamed one patron over the din of the cover band.

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