May 04, 2012

O2 Brunch Cafe

Address: No. 47, Section 3, Mínquán East Road, Jhongshan District
Telephone: (02) 2506-6529
Hours: Mon - Fri 10am to 11pm, Sat 9am to 11pm
Price: $

Becoming a recognized name throughout Taiwan, the O2 cafe has opened ten cafes since January. Immensely popular, this brunch cafe serves sandwiches, burgers, risotto, pasta, bagels, and the famous O2 Roll. 
Walking inside, I can instantly see why the O2 is popular. It's bright, cheery, and clean, with some classical music softly piped through the speakers. When the waitress hands me the menu I'm pleased to discover that this meal is going to be cheaper than I expected. 
 For the price of a Starbucks latte, you can have a proper O2 Brunch meal consisting of their famous roll, french fries, and a beverage. I chose the O2 smoked chicken roll for $55 NT, though there are many other options such as bacon, garden salad, and egg. If you decide to "make it a meal", which I recommend doing, it'll set you back a mere $39 NT (includes a drink and french fries). I really wanted an ice latte though, so I forked over the extra $30 NT.
The latte was just the thing I needed on such a hot, muggy day! I liked that there wasn't a lot of ice in the glass, but there was a preponderance of foam which was a little bizarre. The foam was quite thick, very sweet, and didn't really dissolve into the latte. I drank the latte from a straw and scooped the foam out and ate it independent from the latte. Perfect!
The french fries arrived next, hot and crispy with a side of ketchup. I like ketchup on my fries, but the O2 fries were so crunchy, flavorful, and delicious that I didn't want to ruin them with any condiments. Like many Taiwanese restaurants, the food is brought out to your table as it's ready. I'm not saying I want cold fries, but I wish things were a little more coordinated in the kitchen. C'est la vie.
 Next, the famous O2 roll that's made such a splash in Taiwan! The roll is made of toasted flatbread, something you don't see much of in Taiwan. There's a lot of lettuce, some smoked chicken, an egg, a tomato, and some secret sauce in the roll. The sauce tastes like Thousand Island dressing but has the consistency of water, so maybe it's watered down dressing? Not sure. But the roll is really good and is probably one of the healthiest things I've eaten in Taiwan.  
I like that the O2 serves delicious food in decent portions at good prices ($124 NT for anyone that was keeping track). With all of their locations, it's quite easy to accidentally run into one. I'm also a fan of their decor. You can tell they put effort into their cafes and it shows (in a good way). Little touches like pumpkins as table markers definitely win them points in my book.

I'm curious to see how the O2 does risotto, so that's definitely on my to-do list. The menu at the restaurant is in English, but the menu online is only in Chinese. The wait staff are really friendly and if you're ever in the mood for good, cheap food, you'll know where to go!

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