Because of Carnegie's long-standing reputation as a dining and nightclub fixture among Western expats, it's easy to become cliche when reviewing it. Even those who have little experience of Taipei's nightlife know the place for its 30-plus crowd. What people seem to be less aware of, though, is Carnegie's brunch. It's a feature that deserves applause for its relaxing ambience, friendly prices and, of course, good food.
We, the reviewer and three cycling mates, reached the destination famished after a Sunday morning ride. We seated ourselves at an outdoor table on Anhe road, where there's little traffic. The weather was perfect: a gentle breeze and wintry sunshine. For a moment, we felt we had left pollution-plagued Taipei.
Though the brunch menu is limited, it comes from a reputed kitchen that earned a favorable review in the Taipei Times three years ago. One companion warned us against the big version of the traditional English breakfast (NT$480), simply because the proportions are too generous, even for the ravenous. So we went for the small version of the English plate (NT$320), eggs Benedict (NT$250) and the Continental (NT$260), all of which were larger than similar options served at other establishments.
The English breakfast consists of bacon, eggs, sausage, fried mushrooms, baked beans and toast and comes with a glass of orange juice and coffee or tea with refills. It was quite satisfying after a sweat-inducing workout. Departing from the traditional, Carnegie's eggs Benedict included hearty portions of smoked salmon, spinach and fried potatoes.
If you are more the do-it-yourself type, a variety of fillings are available to make your own omelet. Fruit salad with yogurt and honey are available for the health-conscious while pancakes with apple, raisin, banana and/or bacon topped with brown sugar and syrup sounds seductive.
Address: 100, Anhe Rd Sec 2, Taipei City
Telephone: (02) 2325-4433
Open: Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm
Average meal: NT$300
Details: Menu in Chinese and English; Credit cards accepted
The blues/rock tunes played on the day of our visit suited the lackadaisical Sunday atmosphere. The shadowed indoor seats, however, seemed much too somber for a brunch crowd.
Though the menu could be expanded with lighter options, the perennial nightspot may well make it into the top 10 list of the city's best brunch places.