Although my first love when it comes to eating in Taiwan is the street-food, I’m always very pleasantly surprised by the fine dining this country has to offer. I’m currently in the city of Taichung, located smack-dab in the middle of Taiwan and one of the bigger cities in the country. And Taichung, like Taipei, also has a lot to offer in terms of food. My parents had heard good things about Bric’s, so when the meat cravings came, we decided to head over there for lunch.
Upon walking in, I thought I had returned back to France. The decorations were very French, from the bordeaux colored fleur-de-lis wall paper to the French ceramic chandelier, I couldn’t help but feel a slight tinge of homesickness. I also loved that there was a BIG pot of orchids right outside the bathrooms. Not necessarily French, but I love orchids, so I was happy to see them.
excited ecstatic to see that the butter on the table, in a brick of course, seemed to be French. It was sunshine-yellow, not the weird white-ish yellow color that is American butter (which, really, is not butter at all), and had that good French butter taste, which is difficult to describe in words, except that it was like heaven in my mouth. The bread served with the butter was fresh out of the oven, which is the best kind of bread, and had a crunchy exterior, with a soft, steaming interior. Although they look like your run of the mill dinner rolls, they’re not as dense and have a much airier texture. The only bad thing about them was that they disappeared too quickly.
The lunch course I ordered came with an appetizer, a soup, a salad, a main dish, dessert, and coffee. Whew! When the waitress, who was very polite and offered probably the best service I’d ever experienced in Taiwan, took my order, the only thought going through my mind was “must pace oneself to consume all this gloriousness.” Thankfully, the dishes were well-portioned, with some even being just a mere few bites of food. But they were
really good excellent bites.
For the starter, I ordered scallops. Unlike a lot of seafood in Taiwan, which are cooked all the way well done, these scallops were seared on the outside and slightly raw on the inside, which to me, is perfectly cooked. They were topped with what seemed like fried garlic shreds, diced tomatoes, and black fish eggs (not caviar, just fish eggs).
For the soup course, I ordered the cream of truffle soup. I had originally ordered the French onion, which my dad ordered and was very good as well, but changed my order upon learning the Chinese word for truffle. Just a FYI, the Chinese word for truffle is “sōng lù” or 松露. You learn something new everyday!
Unlike a lot of cream soups here in Taiwan, made with probably American butter, this was made with the French stuff and therefore didn’t have that fake butter taste. I’ve realized it’s actually quite hard to explain to those who have never tasted what I like to call “real butter” the difference in flavor because to many people, butter is just butter. But it is really so much more than that. So for those of you who have had the fortune of tasting French butter, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those who haven’t, once you go French, you don’t go back.
The tomato salad was probably my favorite out of the three starting dishes. I loved the fact that the tomato slices were arranged in a way so that it looked like a whole tomato on my plate. The tomatoes were peeled and marinated in a vinaigrette, giving it a sweet and sour taste. Each little tomato wedge was filled with a nice chunk of mozarella, which cut the acidity of the tomatoes and the capers hidden under the garnish on top, providing balance to a dish that would’ve otherwise been too acidic.
For my main course, I decided to get lamb chops because I had a craving for lamb that day. Cooked to a nice rosé and served with fried garlic chips, I felt like there was no need for the apple mint jelly that was served on the side. I’ve also never been too big a fan of mint jelly anyways and have always preferred to just eat lamb by itself to appreciate its flavor and textures. My only gripe would be that because the serving plate was so hot, by the time I got to the last lamb chop, it was practically well done from sitting on that hot plate. But really, I can’t complain too much about the restaurant’s efforts in ensuring that my plate of food doesn’t get cold within minutes of hitting the table.
My favorite part of the meal: DESSERT!! I am a staunch believer that a meal is not complete without a little sweet something at the end. I am also a staunch believer that dessert comes last because it is the best part of a meal.
This dessert came with my mom’s prix-fixe menu. It’s a dessert that I’ve only really ever eaten in Taiwan, called “nǎi lào” or 奶酪, which reminds me a bit of yogurt, but not quite so yogurty. It’s made out of milk, whipping cream, sugar, gelatin, and water, so I guess the best way to describe it is a cross between a yogurt and a pudding. Either way, it’s deliciously light and mild in flavor, so it lends well to a plethora of different types of fruit toppings. In this case, it was paired with a passion fruit coulis and seasonal fruits.
My dad ordered the crème brulée, which mainly ended up in me and my mom’s stomachs. Pretty standard crème brulée – smooth, custardy texture, nice crunchy sugar top, and strong, but not overpowering vanilla taste.
I ordered a tiramisu with coffee, which is, I think the only way to eat tiramisu. Although the coffee mousse was light and airy the way it should be, I was very disappointed that this was just a cup of coffee mousse with dark chocolate powder (a good one at that) on top. I was really missing the coffee-liquer soaked lady finger biscuits that are supposed to be in a tiramisu. They provided some sweet nori/seaweed wafers on the side, which didn’t match at all with the tiramisu. It tasted like two separate little sweet snacks on a plate, divided by a line of fruit.
I was disappointed that the fruits used as garnishes for the dessert didn’t vary at all depending on the dessert. And although I’m not complaining about the fact that each dish had some fresh fruit on there, I think they could’ve done a much better job pairing fruits and sauce (each dish also came with a swipe of strawberry coulis) to the dessert rather than just tossing the same pieces of fruit and sauce on each plate for the sake of aesthetic.
All in all, I had a wonderful dining experience at Bric’s. I would even go so far as to say it’s the best Taiwanese Western-style restaurant I’ve had here. Bric’s does a good job at subtly incorporating aspects of Asian cuisine, such as fried garlic chips and nori biscuits (ok, so those biscuits weren’t that successful, but they tasted good nonetheless), but more importantly has a commitment to high quality ingredients as well as respecting the integrity of such ingredients. But really, they had me at French butter.
57, Hui Zhong Rd, Sec 2
Taichung City, Taiwan
Tel: +002 886 4 2258 3979
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5-10 pm