Fri, Apr 17, 2009 - Page 15 News List

RESTAURANTS : Hsiang The Brunch (向The Brunch)

By David Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER


On appearances alone, one would never guess that Hsiang The Brunch served American diner food. Electric purple walls, lavender wallpaper with floral patterns, white marble tables — this eatery near Zhongxiao East Road looks more like a place where well-heeled female shoppers go for afternoon tea.

But while there are the requisite teas, coffee and fruit drinks, greasy spoon offerings are the stars of the menu. The main selections are a variety of egg brunch and breakfast sets, as well as a collection of pasta dishes and meat entrees.

Brunch choices range from the “healthy breakfast” (NT$420) — egg-white omelets, fresh fruit and multi-grain bread — to the “luxury steak and eggs breakfast” (NT$490) and the Italian brunch (NT$540), a nine-course meal that includes rack of veal and panna cotta.

Hsiang’s bacon cheeseburger (NT$380), a house recommendation, looked so enticing when it arrived I immediately dug in, forgetting to photograph the meal. Besides the standard iceberg lettuce, tomato slices and pickle, Hsiang also loads the burger with a few unusual toppings: scrambled eggs, shitake mushrooms and a sweet and tangy mustard, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. Sides of crisp, golden french fries and salad greens with a light vinaigrette made this plate of comfort complete.

It wasn’t all perfect, though. The bacon on the burger lacked the necessary crunch and the cheese tasted like the processed and sliced variety. Be aware that the sauce is placed on the burger before it arrives, and does not come on the side.

Other house recommendations include the spinach and cheese eggs benedict (NT$340), which comes with a side of potato wedges, and the smoked chicken and oregano omelet (NT$320). Breakfast is served at all hours of the day except for the pancake breakfast sets (NT$200 to NT$280), which can be ordered until 4pm on weekends and 5pm on weekdays.

Hsiang The Brunch (向The Brunch)

Address: 18, Ln 236, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路一段236巷18號)

Telephone: (02) 8771-8258

Open: Open Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 10:30 pm; opens at 8am on Saturdays and Sundays; kitchen closes at 9pm

Average meal: NT$350 to NT$600 Details: Credit cards accepted for orders over NT$1,000

While the decor seems incongruous if not downright strange in light of the food, the dining experience is designed for relaxation and slow-paced enjoyment. A leather couch extends across one side of the room, spanning the length of three separate tables for four; on the other side are plush upholstered easy chairs.

Well-placed seating by the window allows patrons to gaze at passers-by, but office workers on a smoke break were not as an appealing sight as the small herb garden of mint and rosemary sitting out front.

For those who need something more than glorified eggs and toast, Hsiang’s offers a few main course dishes. Notable selections include the eight-ounce sirloin steak with anchovy and herb butter (NT$750) and grilled lamb chop with curry herb butter and seasonal vegetables (NT$650).

One eye-catching dessert on the menu is the whisky vanilla milk shake (NT$250). If you’re not in a rush, the rich fondant au chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream (NT$200) is worth the 15-minute wait.

Hsiang The Brunch also has a branch on 8, Ln 50, Tianmu East Road (天母東路50巷8號, (02) 2872-5851) behind the Tianmu branch of the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store (新光三越).


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