Thu, Dec 15, 2011 - Page 13 News List

Restaurant review: Dazzling Champagne

By Catherine Shu  /  Staff Reporter

Dazzling Champagne’s long menu of small dishes and entrees is hit and miss.

Photo: Catherine Shu, Taipei Times

The latest in the Dazzling Group’s empire of dessert cafes and restaurants, Dazzling Champagne occupies prime nightlife real estate next to Barcode in Xinyi District’s Neo 19 building. With its darkly lit interior and DJ booth, Dazzling Champagne aims to attract a customer base of hungry partiers.

The Dazzling brand’s signature is over-the-top decor, but Dazzling Champagne keeps it relatively simple. Elaborate chandeliers are encased by large metal drum shades and walls are left bare so music videos can be projected onto them. The only exaggerated thing is the height of the restaurant’s bar stools. Very tall and upholstered with slippery silver fabric, the stools are hard to maneuver if you are wearing a skirt or have indulged in Dazzling Champagne’s signature menu of cocktails made with champagne. This is unfortunate because the bar is the best place to take advantage of the restaurant’s tapas menu. Like other venues managed by the company, Dazzling Champagne’s menu is far-reaching, as if the restaurant is trying to appeal to as many customers as possible. Its offerings, however, are hit and miss.

A waiter poured my order of lobster bisque (NT$320) from a small pot into a bowl garnished with a diminutive lump of lobster meat and sea urchin. The portion was disappointingly skimpy for the price, but the bisque was delicious: briny with just the right amount of cream. On the other hand, the French onion soup (NT$250) was a dud. The bowl was topped with flavorless melted cheese and the overcooked onions had been chopped up so much that they resembled a puree and had no texture. The taste of the soup was also overly sweet.

We fared better with our appetizers, the beef carpaccio (NT$480) and herbed potatoes (NT$180). The portion of the carpaccio was also too small for the price, but we enjoyed the rare beef, which was lightly seared around the edges for a hint of flavor and topped with olive oil, shaved Parmesan and crunchy arugula leaves. The herbed potatoes are one of the least expensive items on the menu, but each baby potato was delicious, with crispy skin and just a sprinkle of salt.

In addition to small plates, Dazzling Champagne also offers full-sized entrees ranging from pasta to rib eye steak. Our confit of duck with garlic cream sauce (NT$680) was tender with crackling skin. The flavor had a little bit too much sweetness, but that was mitigated by the duck’s smokiness and the garlic cream sauce lightly drizzled around the plate.

The restaurant’s best-selling signature champagne cocktail is the Elva (NT$400), which is made from Hendrick’s Gin, passion fruit and honey, and the main ingredient, champagne. The passion fruit added an appealing tartness that was a good contrast to the champagne and dry gin. Other options from Dazzling Champagne’s extensive drinks menu include Moet and Chandon champagne served by the bottle, Hennessy and Remy Martin cognac and imported red and white wines.

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