Two Agnes B. cafes opened in Taipei last week, one in Eslite’s (誠品) Xinyi District (信義) shopping center and the other in Breeze Center (微風廣場) in the East District (東區).
As a clothing label, Agnes B. is known for chic, slim clothing designs for men and women. Its cafes, however, seem designed to fatten you up with pastries, chocolates, quiches, creamy lattes and sandwiches filled with cheese (for calorie watchers, boxes of salad and bottles of Perrier are available). Many of the delicate, miniature patisseries are embellished with a tiny chocolate disk that has the Agnes B. logo printed on it, in case you forget where you are eating. Prices are surprisingly reasonable, however, ranging from NT$90 for a quiche to NT$120 for a sandwich or pastry. At NT$75 for a small piece, the chocolates are the priciest items.
The rampant use of logos and the fact that the Breeze Center cafe is located right next to an Agnes B. clothing store might make dessert lovers wonder if this is a case of style over substance. But the patisseries (NT$100 each) are actually quite good. The Charlene is a chocolate-covered dome filled with chestnut mousse between flaky layers of light and crunchy feuilletine. Cream liquor gives a grown-up touch to the fluffy chocolate sponge cake in the Danielle. The quiches and sandwiches, while not mind-blowing, offer the lunch crowd a satisfying alternative to food court fare.