Chocoholics may have tried Black As Chocolate’s (BAC) cakes or confections from any of its stores in Taipei, Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung. Now it has ventured into related but new territory with BAC Chocolate World (BAC巧克力世界), which serves a range of Asian and Western-style dishes with a cocoa twist.
Located opposite the Living Mall (京華城) on Bade Road (八德路), BAC Chocolate World has dining space on the ground and B1 floors, a retail area selling all things chocolate and a station where diners can customize chocolate bars with their choice of topping and wrapper.
Everything on the menu has cocoa as its base — whether a piece of bread or a variety of pasta made with cocoa powder, or a dipping sauce made with cocoa salt and cocoa liquor. BAC Chocolate World clearly wants to promote cocoa as haute cuisine.
The cocoa oxtail soup (NT$190) started the meal off on a pleasant note. Tender morsels of beef attached to the bone came in a robust broth. The dish came served with two pieces of cocoa bread that went well with the soup.
Chicken skewers (NT$300 for four) came next with purple onion dices, cucumbers and a thick peanut dipping sauce. The dish, also known as satay, is a common snack in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, with variations including mutton, beef, pork and fish. In this case, the diced chicken thigh was somewhat chewy and dry, but the gravy-like sauce complemented the meat well, emitting scents of ginger, turmeric and red shallots.
The warm spinach salad with fresh figs and pan-seared duck (NT$380) looks appealing and healthy, but the figs were not fresh as they tasted overly sugary for natural fruit. The sliced duck breast, although well-seasoned, was somewhat leathery, giving the jaw an unnecessary and unwanted workout.
Address:123, Bade Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市八德路四段123號)
Open:Sundays through Thursdays from 10:30am to 10pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30am to 11pm
Average meal: NT$500
Details: Menu in English and Chinese; credit cards accepted
On the net: www.blackaschocolate.com
The spicy coconut soup with cocoa noodles (NT$320) turned around the disappointment over the salad with its rich aroma that can convert diners who, like this reviewer, usually avoid spicy food.
Each mouthful of the creamy and spicy broth was an explosion of flavor. The dish combines Chinese and Malay culinary traditions and is known as laksa. Sliced chicken breast, soybean sprouts and bean curd were cooked in a soup that delivered an appealingly robust shrimp taste.
We finished the meal with a dark chocolate tart (NT$160) and dark chocolate shot (NT$200). The former came topped with mixed berries while the latter, a vodka-based chocolaty drink, was served in a shot glass with milk foam and a sprinkle of spice.
The restaurant serves a brunch menu every day from 10:30am to 3:30pm, providing dishes such as eggs Benedict (NT$360) and Portobello mushroom sandwich (NT$280), which are not available for dinner. There are a number of choices for afternoon tea, including banana fritters (NT$150) and chocolate chip pancakes (NT$260).