Fri, Jan 21, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Restaurant: Music Cafe

Address: 207, Jinshan S Rd, Sec 2, Taipei (台北市金山南路二段207號)
Telephone: (02) 2392 4099
Open: Sunday to Thursday, 11am to Midnight; Friday to Saturday, 11am to 2am
Average meal: NT$250
Details: Chinese and English menu, credit cards acce

By Anna Tsai

If you're not hungry you can enjoy a drink at Music Cafe.

PHOTO: ANNA TSAI, TAIPEI TIMES

Those who make it no farther up Jinshan South Road than Roxy 99 probably won't have noticed a restaurant-cum-bar a little farther on the other side of the road, even though it's been there for 12 years.

From the outside, it could be mistaken for a cafe, and the name adds to the misconception. But it is, in fact, a restaurant serving passable Chinese food and a bar with some very reasonably priced cocktails.

Music Cafe can seat 50 people at a time, although it seems much smaller. The sparsely covered white walls and large windows would probably make this place more appealing during the day, as it seems a little barren in the evening.

The sign outside says the place is also a reggae cafe, but it only plays reggae some nights. There is a DJ on weekends, and the rest of the time, the staff says, they pride themselves on playing music you won't hear anywhere else.

The menu is quite seafood-heavy and includes lemon fish and spicy crab legs. If you call them ahead of time, they can prepare off-menu specialties, such as lobster or crab.

For the seafood-averse, there is a good selection of beef and chicken dishes and seasonal hotpots, although vegetarians may be disappointed by the small selection of vegetables. The menu changes every three months, and there are NT$180 lunch specials -- curiously, written only in Chinese.

The beef cooked with green onion and garlic, and the water convolvulus with special bean curd sauce were little better than you'll find at other slightly upscale Chinese restaurants. The calamari with salt and pepper was very tasty, but eat it quick while it's still crispy.

The service is attentive without being overbearing, although, as with most similar places, the dishes come out one at a time, so if you're really hungry you might have already stuffed yourself with spicy frogs' legs and rice by the time your favorite steamed cod comes out.

Three dishes should satisfy the appetites of two people. So, at around NT$250 a dish, dinner for two with drinks is a little under NT$1,000.

Even if the food doesn't take your fancy, you can still come here and just drink. There are seats at the bar and plenty of tables for larger groups.

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