Fri, Apr 13, 2007 - Page 15 News List

Restaurants: Belle Fusion

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

Belle Fusion is a kind of one-stop emporium for the smart set's F&B needs.


ADDRESS: 149 Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei (台北市敦化南路一段149號)

TELEPHONE: (02) 2777-3322

OPEN: 8am to 9:30pm for food, the lounge and rooftop bar is open until late

AVERAGE MEAL: NT$1,500 per person for set dinner, NT$300 for business lunch specials

DETAILS: Chinese and English menu. Credit cards accepted. Reservations must be made for the third-floor restaurant and VIP rooftop bar

Belle Fusion was designed for the young and fashionable and as expected it's been popular with party people since opening last month. Its swanky, cathedral-like VIP rooftop bar is the place to be seen on weekends. The surprise is food lovers like the place too.

Model Amanda Wang (王聖芬) and husband Joseph Liu (劉奕) have created a stylish three-floor cafe and restaurant, with two lounge bars, that is a kind of one-stop emporium for the smart set's food and beverage needs. Personalities such as Little S (小S) or models Bianca Pai (白歆惠) and Sonia Sui (隋棠) are frequent visitors.

"In the past Taipei people didn't know how to enjoy themselves, they just knew how to do business. This is the 21st century and young people want a more cosmopolitan and beautiful lifestyle," Wang said, explaining her establishment's name and the thinking behind it.

Naturally, looks are important to Belle Fusion and Gustaf Kan (耿治國), the designer of Brown Sugar and other local landmarks, was tasked with making it appeal to the visually refined. The coffee bar and patio area on the first floor has a Continental ambiance, while the second-floor restaurant scores style points for its tinted glass tables and Philippe Starck chairs. The third floor has an elegant private dining room, with a gilded black and red color scheme.

As for the food, management made a wise choice when it enticed a chef from the Far Eastern Plaza hotel's kitchen to develop the menu. Portions were substantial, not just stylish.

The paella, for instance, was full of fresh seafood, including green mussels from Bali (八里), giant prawns, shrimps, scallops, a large crab claw, plus chorizo slices. Other main dish choices were fillet of beefsteak with goose liver terrine and tarragon; and roasted duck breast with honey and coconut crust.

The set menu began with Antipasti Freddi, which was a large plate of hor's d'oeuvres doused in balsamic vinegar, got the taste buds racing. Five course set dinners are NT$1,500.

If that sounds a bit rich, there are four-course lunch sets catering to the office worker crowd costing NT$300. The breakfast menu and afternoon tea sets also looked appetizing. The only reservation this reviewer had was whether the menu was too ambitious. Profusion can lead to confusion and sometimes less is more. Overall, however, Belle Fusion was refreshingly different and surprisingly good.

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