Have you ever wanted to watch your food grow as you eat? Glow Angle (光仙子) a small restaurant that recently opened in Dazhi (大直) is an unusual dining option launched by Risecare (昇活網), a company specializing in the manufacture of hydroponic “plant factory” equipment. The company makes this equipment for both commercial and home use, and the restaurant was established a couple of months ago to provide a showcase for the selection of fresh lettuce that can be easily cultivated at home with a minimum of fuss.
The small outlet nestled away in an underground mall on a residential estate in Dazhi is most notable for having a variety of lettuce plants growing in luminous cabinets right there in the restaurant, where they are directly harvested for use. From a perspective of freshness and healthfulness (the controlled environment means that no pesticides need to be used), Glow Angle is pretty exciting. All the dishes on the menu feature lettuce, and can be roughly divided into salads (priced from NT$240 to NT$280), burgers (NT$240 to NT$260), hot pots (NT$380 to NT$480) and pizza (NT$210 to NT$275).
The salad dishes, not surprisingly, provide the best showcase for the freshness of the lettuce, and with choices ranging from crab through beef, and including two vegetarian options (mushroom and fruit), there is a good variety of choices, all providing a satisfying, if light, meal. The pizza and burger options on the other hand, indicated that menu development still has some way to go. The pizza would appall anyone serious about this dish, and the integration of the lettuce, scattered on top, is halfhearted. The lettuce-flavored soft serve ice cream on the other hand (offered as a free accompaniment and not featured on the menu), is sufficiently funky to justify ongoing interest. Boxes of lettuce leaves would seem the best way for the home cook to make use of this excellent produce, but priced at NT$400 for a large container, it is certainly not for the uncommitted. The ambiance provided by the faintly glowing glass cases of lettuce makes dining in an attractive option.
Glow Angle is located at B1, 575 Mingshui Rd, Taipei City (台北市明水路575號B1), tel (02) 8509-7034. More information about its products can be found at www.risecare.com.
In incidental food and beverage news, Thomas Costenoble, chairman of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles visited Taiwan earlier this month for the signing ceremony that will see the city of Kaohsiung host what is widely regarded as world’s largest wine and spirits tasting competition. This is the first time that this major event has been held in Asia. The event, which will take place June 6 to 9 next year, will be a boost for new beverage development. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said at the ceremony that the local liquor industry is well placed to make good use of Kaohsiung’s abundant production of lychees, pineapple, honey and other produce in the manufacture of new and exciting drinks.