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
PHOTO: JULES QUARTLY, TAIPEI TIMES
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.
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at
Wild Sparrow (野雀之詩) is simple and extremely slow paced, told through the eyes of Han (Kao Yu-hsia, 高於夏), an introspective, shy grade schooler who lives with his great-grandmother in the verdant countryside. Han has a fascination with sparrows, which are either flying high in the sky or trapped in cages and nets, providing a constant metaphor throughout the film. In the most ironic scene, a man catches the birds just to charge people to set them free again, taking advantage of Buddhists who engage in the ritual of “releasing” animals from captivity. Han takes a badly injured sparrow home and