Fri, Jul 29, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Restaurant: Tree Cafe 咖啡樹

Address: 95, Minzu 2nd Street, Hsichih City, Taipei County(台北縣汐止市民族二街95號)
Telephone: (02) 2692-1313
OPEN: 11am to 11pm
Average meal: NT400 includes soup, bread, dessert and beverage. Credit cards accepted
Details: Menu in English and Chinese

By Sean Lin  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Tree cafe is run by those nice people at Dream Community.

PHOTO: SEAN LIN, TAIPEI TIMES

Tree Cafe is a truly multicultural restaurant that draws on the skills of the traditional cuisines of various artists that frequent the area. With its motto: "0 People, 10 Countries, 10 Cuisines," it has been promoting good food and cultural harmony in the neighborhood for over six years.

This small brick restaurant is nestled in the heart of the Dream Community, a local organization dedicated to the spread of art appreciation and cultural exchanges in Taiwan. Festivals and other events occur here throughout the year, aided by an international artist exchange program.

The Tree Cafe was founded in 1999 by the restaurant manager Amy Tsai. Many of the artists who come to Taiwan borrow the Tree Cafe's kitchen to cook specialties from their native countries, adding their own distinctive flavors to the menu. The result is one of the most diverse selections of international dishes in Taipei.

The Tree Cafe is built to feel like a homely European coffee shop, where patrons can come for a hot meal and a talk with friends after a long day in the city.

Charles and Deep, waiters from Nigeria and Nepal, warmly welcome you as you enter the restaurant. The cafe hires no professional chefs, instead relying on old-fashioned home cooking. Before ordering, be sure to take a look at the back of the menu, where the 10 international cooks are introduced along with recipes for some of the dishes.

The buttery vegetable soup that preceded our meal tasted fresh with its juicy bell peppers and carrots. The accompanying olive focaccia had an aromatic flavor and genuine crusty texture that is nearly impossible to find in Taiwanese bakeries. The Nigerian pork fillet, recommended by Charles, was a little overcooked but infused with a delicious spiced tomato flavor. The marinated Tandoori salmon, Deep's recommendation, was tender, juicy and packed with the flavor of spices and creamy butter. The zesty Marseille spicy seafood spaghetti and the creamy Alaskan smoked salmon spaghetti are highly recommended and good value.

The Tree Cafe's fruit tarts provided a light, refreshing end to the meal. In the past, the bakers used canned and imported fruits from the artists' home countries. However, they found that using locally grown fruit could retain the natural freshness of the dishes. Various breads are also for sale at the cafe counter, made freshly from the community's nearby bakery. The red wine bread we bought was so enticing that we ate one loaf as soon as we stepped out of the restaurant.

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