Fri, Feb 18, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Restaurant: JB's

Address: 148 Shida Rd, Taipei (台北市師大路148號)
Telephone: (02) 2364 8222
Open: 11:30am to 2am, Monday through Thursday, 11:30am to 4am, Friday to Sunday
Average meal: NT$550 per person
Details: Menu in English and Chinese

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fish and chips at JB's.

PHOTO: DAVID MOMPHARD, TAIPEI TIMES

Following weeks of hype, JB's, the new eatery on Shida Road adjacent the TaiPower Building will have its grand opening tomorrow night, with happy hour specials from opening to closing time. Punters can choose from Abbot Ale and Carlsberg on tap, or an assortment of bottles and cans that includes Old Speckled Hen, Grolsch, San Miguel, Boddingtons, Kirin and several of the usual suspects.

There's also a growing selection of wines from Australia, Chile, Argentina and elsewhere. But it would be a mistake to confuse JB's spirits as its soul. The first of three floors is a restaurant serving up European cuisine in a smoke-free environment. Smokers can choose to have their meal in the second-floor bar, where a pair of whiz-bang exhaust fans clear the air and make watching the satellite projection TV all the more enjoyable. Come about the end of March, proprietors say, they'll open up the rooftop garden terrace.

Though two-thirds of the real estate is given over to drinking, most of the thought has gone into the menu. Here JB's several expatriate partners bring to the table more than 250 years of experience eating countries around the globe. The fare is "traditional Europoean."

Fish and chips (NT$420), beer and steak pie (NT$430) and an Irish stew (NT$350) share the page with a hamburger (NT$250) and an assortment of pastas (NT$250 to NT$300). Bangers are made in-house, as are the desserts, and the proprietors say they've gone to great lengths to bring genuine articles to Asia, wherever possible, down to the mashed peas.

While the ramp-up to opening has taken longer than planned, the wait seems to have been worth it. On a pair of outings this past week, we tried a chicken tagliatelle, fish and chips, and the burger.

Verdict? The pasta was al dente and delicious, the fish fillets were excellent and the burger is the new heavyweight contender for best in town.

Criticisms? Come on, it hasn't officially opened yet. Advice might be more the thing to offer, but mine would only amount to small potatoes. JB's chips are good, but they're not the type that makes them disappear long before the entree is half gone. A bit more attention to them or to what you can dip them in would set them off; a smidge of spicy mustard or a ramekin of ranch dressing.

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