Living in Taipei is a lot like living on campus during college. You’re bound to run into people at any hour, the streets and sidewalks only clear during national holidays with more than a week of vacation days, and before you know it, you’ve carved out what is essentially ‘your’ neighborhood. At first, this way of living seemed oppressive and exhaustive to this Texas native. Completely escaping the Taipei scene was never really a possibility. Even at night, the sounds and heat from the streets floated upward and soaked into the walls and sheets that only served as mere illusions of partitions.
Now I guess you can that I’ve melted into the city, as fluid as the humidity that rushes around me. But there are days when I still long for a new air and a different pace. When I arrived at Café UN DEUX TROIS at the Mandarin Oriental, I was in for a pleasant (and whimsical) afternoon that, although in the heart of the city, took me far away from it.
Backtrack to a week prior, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed (passing all the animals in clothing, artistically arranged desks, and envy-invoking travel accounts that occupy my time for hours) when a pink blur on a platter flashed by as I passed. I returned to the photograph to check again what I had just seen.
I wasn’t sure if I was looking at handcrafted art or a splendid platter of desserts too beautiful to eat (almost!). The next morning I booked a reservation for two at Café UN DEUX TROIS for their new Miss Dior ‘Blooming Bouquet’-Inspired Afternoon Tea set.
If you find yourself in Taipei, you must make time to indulge in Frank Haasnoot’s brilliant creations. The tea set came with sandwiches, desserts, ice cream, chocolate cart options, and scones for $1000 NT a guest. After three hours, I was deliriously hopped up on sugar and happiness. The thought and craftsmanship that went into all of the items was evident from the first looks to the last bites. In the two years I have lived in Taiwan, I can quite confidently say that no dessert has left me as satisfied as Frank Haasnoot’s creations have. And luckily for me, I had dessert after dessert to confirm that. It’s quite a rough life, I know.
The Mandarin Oriental itself was an oasis of hospitality in a city where the service industry is just barely beginning its first steps into the realm of consumer-oriented development. From the thoughtful layout of the courtyard, shops, and café tables to the attention, friendliness, and knowledge of the staff. There are many things to experience in Taipei, but few completely remove you from the streets outside. The Mandarin Oriental was like a mini vacation: one that I plan to take more frequently, à la mode.
For more information, check out:
Mandarin Oriental, Taipei
Café UN DEUX TROIS
The views and thoughts of this article were not endorsed or sponsored by the Mandarin Oriental, Café UN DEUX TROIS, or Frank Haasnoot, but by a very happy writer at Backpacks & Blackboards (who quite possibly is still dreaming about that sugared waffle with vanilla bean ice cream).