Maison Alexandre may be just another enterprise to owner Andre Joulian, but it's more than just another sandwich shop in Taipei. The small delicatessen offers a selection of imported meat and cheese sandwiches for a reasonable price in a pleasant and quaint atmosphere.
Joulian's first establishment, Le Jardin, opened in 2001 to serve Provencal cuisine. A few years later he opened Scoozi, offering Mediterranean and Italian fare with tasty oven-baked pizzas. His latest venture is less of a restaurant and more of an import grocery with 80 percent of its profits coming from sales of imported meats, cheeses and wines. Realizing the demand for fresh deli fare in Tianmu, however, the cafe now offers a simple breakfast, lunch or light dinner.
The menu boasts a selection of sandwiches and salads in addition to homemade terrines and sausages. Breakfast and lunch are the busiest times, and can result in a lengthy wait for orders. An afternoon set includes a choice of sandwich, a cookie and coffee or tea for NT$120.
All sandwiches are made with meat, vegetables and cheese, and served on a choice of fresh-baked panini, baguette or focaccia bread. Ham, roasted turkey or smoked bacon, are among the most popular fillings. There is no vegetarian option listed but vegetarian meals can be prepared.
The smoked cheddar and gouda with fresh veggies is tasty and only disappointing in its size. The only condiment is a sweet mayonnaise, which on a sandwich could be considered a food crime, but it makes a good base for a tangy apple and potato salad.
The green salad is basic with only lettuce, tomatoes and green pepper, but the caesar salad with homemade dressing is a good choice.
As an alternative to sandwiches there are a variety of homemade terrines and Italian sausages served with bread and a small green side salad.
Portions are tiny and make this cafe a better lunch than dinner spot. For a more substantial meal it would be wise to combine a sandwich with one of the salads.
The interior is homey and warm, decorated with antique wooden tables and includes a space for a larger group in the back.