I have nothing against the Taiwanese-style crepe, or kelibing (可麗餅), as it is called in night markets and at department store food courts. Commonly filled with mayonnaise and sweet corn, the crispy pancake tastes good, but it is not the real thing. So when I heard of Joys Creperie, which opened last month in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義區), I was thrilled and set off in earnest. Unfortunately, the experience didn’t live up to my expectations.
Upon a quick look around the establishment, reportedly helmed by a Japanese patissier hailing from Tokyo, it is immediately apparent that the French-style pancake shop is modeled on Dazzling Group’s very successful empire of dessert cafes, which are noted for their girly atmosphere. The space is brightly lit, decorated in a palette of black, white, gray and pink, and glass chandeliers.
In short, the plan is to attract female patrons; and it works. My dining partner was the only male diner there.
The menu comprises a dozen types of crepe (NT$140 to NT$250) and six choices of galette (NT$180 to NT$260). We picked the French cheese, egg and ham (NT$240) pancake. The food is as simple as it sounds, and was quickly forgotten.
For a sweet entree, we decided to go for something a bit fancier and chose the French salty caramel apple compote (NT$230) galette. The sweetened pancake comes with apple cooked with cinnamon, caramel sauce and a glob of whipped cream. It tasted okay when served warm, but lacked the sophistication and delicacy that Brittany’s culinary tradition is famed for.
Popular items on the crepe section of the menu include dreamily named dishes such as the fairy-tale princess crepe (NT$230), served with sliced banana, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, and the merry-go-round strawberry lover (NT$240), which is made from fresh strawberries, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
For an extra NT$30, your crepe will be topped with a scoop of ice cream, which comes in three flavors — vanilla, chocolate and green tea.
The beverage menu includes chocolate and coffee drinks and herbal, fruit and black teas (NT$130 to NT$160).
Manned by an all-girl wait staff, the service at Joys is fast and efficient.
Joys Creperie is located three minutes walk away from the Taipei City Hall MRT Station (市府捷運站) exit No. 1.
The restaurant is worth a try if you happen to be in the neighborhood and have a serious craving for French-style pancakes.