February 14, 2012


Address: Lane 233, Section 1, Dūnhuà South Road, Daan District
Telephone: (02) 2773-7111
Hours: 10am to 10pm, days not listed
Price: $$

Since I'm always on the lookout for good food in Dunhua, I was surprised to see a restaurant I didn't recognize almost right across the street from Ginjer. Haricot had a cute look ("a little old, a little new" as the owner put it), and the menu outside boasted European cuisine at reasonable prices for the area. 
Haricot has a chic rustic look and tries without trying too hard. While the tables and flooring were a synchronized cedar, the chairs and light fixtures were a tasteful hodgepodge. Though the interior was more "Alaskan lodge" than "European cafe", I really appreciated the effort put into the design and layout. With the soft jazz music in the background, I spent the better part of the afternoon enjoying the ambiance.
On the menu, I noticed the continental, John Dory, and deluxe breakfast sets were served all day and seemed to list an insane amount of food. So insane, in fact, I decided to forgo the continental breakfast and its pancakes, cheese omelet, bacon, ham, potatoes, salad, garlic bread (why garlic bread?), and coffee. Instead, I chose the smoked salmon panini ($240 NT). Unfortunately, the restaurant hadn't yet received the delivery of panini bread. So after the owner apologized and gave me an iced tea on the house to ease my suffering, I chose the Swiss cheeseburger ($260 NT) and a cup of illy coffee ($120 NT).
When my plate arrived, I dug into the salad, seasoned with a strawberry balsamic dressing. I liked that the dressing was a little out of the ordinary; salads here tend to come with the same, bland ranch or Caesar dressings. The French fries had really been fried! They were hot, crispy, and probably 1,000 calories in and of themselves. Delicious. And lastly, the burger itself. I'm quite pleased to report that the Swiss cheese was actually sliced from a block of cheese and didn't taste processed or plastic-y like certain brands of cheese (I'm referencing you, Kraft). The bun had been lightly buttered and toasted and was delectable. The lettuce, onions, and tomatoes were all fresh and plentiful; absolutely no complaints. The burger actually had two hamburger patties, one on top of the Swiss cheese (as shown) and another (complete with an additional slice of Swiss cheese) underneath all the lettuce. Take a good look at that hamburger patty. Aside from the dollop of barbecue sauce, what do you see? That's right. The patty doesn't look like the standard fast food fare. This is at once encouraging and discouraging. 
Don't get me wrong, I hate pink slime hamburger patties as much as the next girl, but whenever I encounter a patty that looks drastically different from what I'm used to eating, I wonder, "Is this 'hamburger' more fake than the fast food hamburgers, or is it more natural?". Usually one bite is all it takes. Biting into my burger, I couldn't quite figure it out; was this a half-beef, half-turkey burger? was this a frozen, store-bought patty? was this some bizarre new organic beef burger my palate wasn't accustomed to? I was perplexed. Summation: the burger components were delicious, it was just the beef that gave me pause. That being said, I will most certainly go back to Haricot for that smoked salmon panini.
The menu is in English and Chinese, there are pictures accompanying every item, and there's a 10% service charge. In case you're a little curious about the menu, Haricot took over Posh Burgers. The owner told me that Haricot opened in January and retained most of the wait staff and Posh's menu items, but added a wider variety of pastas and beverages. In fact, I think the owner of Haricot was the owner of Posh Burgers. Since Posh was a sinking ship, I didn't think it polite to ask her if she was the previous owner (and she was very sweet and gave me a 10% discount for my next visit). Haricot claims to have a website at haricot.com.tw, but punch this into your browser and you'll come up empty-handed. Because it's just getting off the ground, there aren't any other reviews online and the only mention of Haricot you'll find is here.

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