Address: 12, Ln 151, Renai Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市仁愛路四段151巷12號)
Telephone: (02) 8773-0955
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 9:30pm; Sunday 11am to 8pm
Details: Credit cards accepted
On the Net: tw.myblog.yahoo.com/papabubbletaiwan; www.papabubble.com
A world of pure imagination: VVG Bon Bon
The interior of VVG Bon Bon (好樣棒棒), a year-old dessert cafe in Taipei’s East District (東區), can perhaps best be described as a cross between Willy Wonka’s infamous chocolate factory and Versailles. The walls are pastel rose and covered with a giant gilt-framed mirror, crystal chandeliers and cuckoo clocks in three different colors. A baroque display case is filled with small toys, while a large plastic sheep on top of a pink refrigerator keeps watch over diners.
VVG Bon Bon’s signature is its delicate cupcakes, which come in 10 flavors and are covered in icing flowers or rainbow-colored sprinkles. The treats are lined up in a display case topped with crystal cake stands filled with yet more sweets — handmade marshmallows, chocolate-dipped dried fruit, cheerfully decorated sugar cookies, lemon macaroons — situated next to a cotton candy machine.
“When we opened VVG Bon Bon, our first restaurant [VVG Bistro] was already 10 years old, so we wanted to try something different. We wanted to create a place that would appeal to adults, but still have a sense of childlike wonder,” says Grace Wang (汪麗琴), one of the co-owners of the VVG group, which runs three dining establishments and a bed-and-breakfast.
The front of the cafe is consecrated to the temple of sugar: jars filled with candy sold by weight, or wrapped in elaborate packaging and displayed on a large metal stand that is as tall as most adults. Muslin sacks and plastic spheres filled with yet more candy hang from branches carefully arranged in a giant vase. Sweets include jellybeans from the US, Italian chocolate in pretty foil wrappers, Jordan almonds from France, pastel-colored ramune rock candy from Japan, fruit-flavored taffy from Taiwan and lollipops printed with VVG Bon Bon’s logo. Handmade marmalades and fruit jelly in flavors like caramel and organic apple are lined up like glittering jewels. On a recent afternoon, a wide-eyed toddler ran towards a chair stacked with cookies, candy hearts and a wooden nutcracker.
“Kids come in here all the time,” says Wang. “They go absolutely insane.”
Wang hopes that grown-ups who walk into VVG Bon Bon will feel the same sense of glee — and not just from a sugar high.
“I think candy just makes people cheerful. When we were kids it was a forbidden pleasure, because it gave us cavities and so on. But now that we are grown up, we can eat candy whenever want,” says Wang.
VVG Bon Bon’s set menus, which include a main course, drink and dessert, are NT$580 each, while cupcakes are NT$80 each. Hard candy from Japan is NT$180 for 100g, while handmade jellies are NT$110 to NT$250 depending on the size of the jar.
Address: 13, Ln 161, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路一段161巷13號)
Telephone: (02) 2711-4505
Open: Monday to Friday noon to 9pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am to 9pm