Nov 8, 2010

Bele'm 貝倫坊

Profile

Phone #:    02-2732-3391
Website: N/A
Price Range:   $$
Accepts Credit Cards: no
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: no

Rating

Food Quality: 3 out of 5
Decor:  3.5 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall:  3.5 out of 5
Recommendation: Ok pasta at a slightly higher price than market.

Review
Bele'm is a bakery and cafe located near the rear entrance to the National Taiwan University. It is one of the many diverse dining options available in the rear entrance area. They serve steaks and pastas ranging from 120 NT to 300 NT, with an addition 50 NT option to include soup, bread, and a drink of chioce. Bele'm is also a bakery that provides a wide assortment of average looking baked goods. They have a cozy interior and a competent wait staff. They have enough people to run the bakery and the cafe efficiently. It is an average store with nothing special in particular. 
The chairs and tables were comfortable enough. They don't seem to be ready to accomodate any groups above 10 people, but i'm sure they will shift some tables around if the need arises. This place mostly caters the 2-4 group crowds. The utensils were clean, and the soft orange themed decor set a very relaxing mood to the cafe.
There were two people working the cafe side and two people working the bakery side, but they shift the work force as the need arises. The waitress was prompt to bring us our menu, place our order, and clean up the table as the meal progressed. They were also very warm, nice, and accomodating as most Taiwanese waiteresses are.
The set meal comes with a soup, which in today's case was a "corn chowder." I still don't like the taste of the average "corn chowder" in Taiwan, since they are usually very thin, not creamy enough, and lacking in corn. This is what most people here expect when ordering "corn chowder" all around the island.

The set meal also comes with bread, which was this thick slab of garlic bread. It was so thick that it was very soft in the inside and crunchy only on the very outer layer. I like the thinner french bread style garlic bread, so I wasn't too fond of this rendition. When the bread is too thick, most of the flavor is diluted with each bite, so you get a less seasoned morsel because of increased bread to garlic butter ratio. This was also just very plain.
The spagetti con vongoles seemed dry and not so buttery. I didn't smell the freshness of the clam, nor the soothing waft of simmered white wine, so I believe they used some sort of Taiwanese method of making the sauce using cheap substitutes ingredients to acheive a simlilar effect. The Taiwanese clams are also smaller and less meaty. I did not personally try this dish, so I can not say for sure.
I ordered the shrimp sauce seafood pasta. It comes with a couple of clams, a mussel, and three shrimps on top of a spagetti drenched in lobster sauce. Their lobster sauce is not was pungent and shellfishy one would expect from a lobster sauce from Marmalade Cafe or any other equivalent pasta serving cafe's in the State's. This sauce was too light. It was almost dismissible. The shrimp was annoying cause I had to actually peel it myself, and the mussels and clams were underseasoned. I suspect that they do not actually sautee the ingredients with the pasta itself. The noodles were a disappointment. They leaned on the soft side, which is catering toward the "Taiwanese Taste Buds." I think I am proving the correlation that local pasta restaurants will always serve toward the local taste buds. Everything about this dish is subpar to what I would expect from an average plate of spagetti (Marmalade Cafe or Cheesecake Factory). However, this place is good for the change in meals for the local student body who's options are limited. Since they are at the very least better than Discovery Pasta, I give them a few more points than what i gave discovery. Yet, I would still rather eat at the local restaurant House No. 202 than Bele'm. I don't think i'll be returning here anytime soon.

2 comments:

anya said...

If you are looking for good pasta I would recommend Macaroni and Grill in Taipei as well as Friendy's in Hsinchu. I heard there is this place called Orange (if I remember correctly) that's very good also.

Johnny said...

Ever since Macaroni Grill moved from it's NEO19 location I've been too lazy to go and eat there. Their pastas did look decent. I'll try out Friendy's when I'm down in Hsinchu. There's really way too many restaurants here to try~enjoy your stay in Taiwan!

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