Located off Taipei’s Zhongxiao East Road, La Cigale Rouge takeout joint is far removed from the usual stalls serving yansuji (鹽酥雞, or deep-fried chicken with basil) or luwei (滷味, snack food boiled in a soy sauce stock). Run by French expat Jerome Pelourson and his Taiwanese wife, the tidy establishment serves up simple, hearty French fare on a par with that found at dine-in restaurants with fancy trappings.
Said to follow a family recipe, Pelourson’s quiche (NT$150) comes in two flavors, mushroom or ham, and certainly surpasses the bland versions found at most glossy cafes. Another pleasant surprise is the beef bourguignon (NT$270). The meat is slowly cooked to a melt-in-the-mouth tenderness, and the thick red wine sauce is pleasantly rich.
The menu also includes beef lasagna with tomato (NT$200), roast chicken leg (NT$120), cauliflower gratin (NT$150) and potato gratin (NT$120).
Though the eatery mostly provides take-out food, patrons can also enjoy a satisfying meal at the pair of roadside tables that face a bustling alley. Order food by telephone to avoid waiting, and calling ahead of time is a must if you want to sample Pelourson’s whole roast chicken (NT$600).
La Cigale Rouge is located at 51, Ln 223, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市忠孝東路四段223巷51號), tel: (02) 2711-4633.
The eatery usually opens daily around 11am and closes at 8pm, but the business hours don’t seem to be strictly observed.