Season Cuisine Ptissiartism was an instant hit when it opened last August in a pleasantly quiet residential neighborhood in the Dazhi District (大直). Dessert lovers flock to this confectionery-cum-restaurant because of one man: Season Hung (洪守成), a celebrated patissier who has earned a strong following with his innovative spirit and artistic flair for orchestrating fine desserts with striking presentation.
Under Hung, the establishment boasts an array of confections that are ingeniously prepared to photogenic perfection. Humor and playfulness sometimes play a role, too. Take, for example, the afternoon tea set (NT$520), which includes pink cotton candy sprinkled with tasty bits of dried strawberry and is as lovely as a fluffy, buttery cloud. On the side, an amuse bouch plate was composed of four bites of sweets, including hami melon sorbet, honeyed almond ball and a piece of madeleine. Though the cake didn’t evoke a Proustain moment, it did elicit a pleasant sensation in my mouth when melting in the fragrant, mellow-tasting French breakfast tea by Mariage Freres I chose to accompany my tea sea.
The simply tagged “plant” (NT$280) looks exactly like its name and offers plenty of entertainment as diners work their way down from a layer of chocolate crumble (the soil), vanilla ice cream mixed with fresh peppermint leaves to the bottom made from chocolate sponge cake.
Hung’s exploration of flavors is best illustrated in his creation of litchi souffle (NT$450), which is definitely one of the restaurant’s highlights. Accompanied by litchi and raspberry sorbet and a shot of litchi-flavored sparkling wine, the patissier’s rendition of souffle is remarkably light and is not cloying thanks to its summery, fruity aromas.
Address: 22, Alley 2, Ln 397 Mingshui Road, Taipei City (台北市明水路397巷2弄22號)
Telephone: (02) 2533-2377
Open: Wednesday to Monday from 11am to 6pm, Closed on Tuesday
Average meal: Lunch sets cost NT$780 to NT$980, afternoon tea set for NT$520, desserts range from NT$280 to NT$450. 10 percent service charge not included
Details: Menu in English and Chinese, credit cards accepted
The chestnut crepe (NT$280) is another creative remake of a classic. The pancake, instead of lying flat on the plate, is wrapped up in rolls and adorned with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate cornflakes.
The restaurant is also famous for its mille feuille (NT$350), chestnut pound cake (NT$600) and macaron (NT$280 for a bag of four) which was unfortunately sold out on the Sunday afternoon my sweet-tooth friends and I visited.
The establishment’s popularity makes advance reservations essential. We booked one month ahead, and even so, were fortunate to get a big table in the packed and comparatively small venue. The service is fast, and with the soothing colors of white and light wooden brown, the warmly lit place possesses an elegant simplicity and was free from girlish patrons snapping away amidst cries of admiration.
All in all, Season Cuisine Patissiartism earns accolades for offering sweet feasts that please both the eye and the palate, though sometimes the look surpasses the taste. Diners with a savory appetite may want to come for the restaurant’s lunch sets. The establishment also provides service for private dinners and parties as well as catering. More information can be found at www.facebook.com/SEASON.CuisinexPatissiartism.