Back in the day when reasonably priced Western restaurants were few and far between, Grandma Nitti’s was already providing comfort food for forlorn Westerners who had had enough of beef noodle soup and potstickers. Nitti’s location off Shida Road has become a well-known gathering place, and while the food on offer has drawn reviews ranging from the wildly enthusiastic to the derisive, the restaurant’s appeal has never faded for expats longing for a taste of home.
My Sweetie Pie Bakery & Cafe, located almost directly opposite, looks like it might have been transplanted from Taipei’s up-market East District (東區), but is in fact an extension of the Grandma Nitti operation. Clean lines, whitewashed walls and abundant natural light generate an air of casual sophistication.
My Sweetie shares some elements of Grandma Nitti’s menu, but according to Rainbow Lin (林虹惠), the driving force behind both operations, her new project is restricted to smaller brunch and snack dishes. The reason for this is to highlight the cake selection, which is displayed in a way that seems to wink alluringly at passersby.
Priced at around NT$90 a slice, the large portions of American-style cakes fill a niche in a market dominated by elaborately decorated production-line sweets or chichi concoctions of French or Japanese-inspired patisseries. Offerings such as carrot cake (NT$90) and warm chocolate cake (NT$80) make an appealing pairing with a large mug of coffee (hot NT$100; iced NT$110), and the banana chocolate cake (NT$90) is recommended for its robust textures and fresh banana flavor. This is comfort food, but there is an admirable restraint in the use of sugar and fat, and the cakes are nicely presented without being drowned in whipped cream.
For more savory palates, there are a number of brunch variations on offer, such as poached eggs with pesto sauce, ham and toast (NT$180), or light lunch meals that include homemade beef lasagna (with homemade pasta, NT$270). The prices include regular coffee or tea. A slice of cake or pie can be added to all orders for an additional NT$60, making for a very reasonably priced meal.
Apart from the restaurant service, My Sweetie Pie also sells cakes to order. Four-inch (10cm), 6-inch (15cm) and 8-inch (20cm) sizes are available, with prices for an 8-inch cake around NT$800.
The usual range of coffees, slushies, smoothies and milk shakes are available. My Sweetie serves also Mighty Leaf specialty teas as an added attraction.
The large airy space, open kitchen with gleaming surfaces, comfortable sofas and side tables with individual table lamps make this a location equally suited to work or relaxation. The friendly service and free Wi-Fi are icing on the cake.
— IAN BARTHOLOMEW
Address: 3, Ln 93, Shida Rd, Taipei City (台北市師大路93巷3號)
Telephone: (02) 3365-3448
Open: Daily from 11am to midnight
Average meal: NT$300
Details: English and Chinese menu; free Wi-Fi; credit cards accepted
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