Opened roughly six months ago, Chamonix (8-6360 Number 3 Rd.) is one of the newest Taiwanese cafes on the block. The décor in the darkly lit room definitely leans towards the flashy, with elaborate modern chandeliers and hot pink chairs with faux diamond studs.
The girly aesthetic also extends to cups and bowls that are Hello Kitty-themed (points for cuteness).
The extensive, reasonably priced menu runs the gamut of Taiwanese-style snacks, stir-fried dishes, rice combos, sizzling hot plates, hot pots, noodle soups and bubble tea drinks. I started with one of Chamonix’ signature dishes, a selection of three marinated items ($11.25), such as seaweed or pork intestine. I chose fried tofu, beef tripe, and pig’s ears. The latter two were tender, with a little necessary chew, and the marinade tasted salty sweet, with some heat.
The marinated tofu, beef tripe and pig’s ears at Chamonix did not disappoint. (PHOTO: TARA LEE)
Another excellent snack proved to be the deep-fried red fermented pork, served with a sweet chili dipping sauce ($6.75). The cornstarch outer-coating was crisp, and the meat juicy and flavourful from the fermented red bean curd marinade. Of the dishes I ordered, this one impressed me the most.
The deep-fried red fermented pork is a must-try at Chamonix! (PHOTO: TARA LEE)
Although it was a warm spring day, I was curious to see how the kitchen would handle classic Taiwanese beef noodle soup ($8.75). It arrived steaming in a massive bowl, with green onion and baby bok choy adding some colour to the dark-hued beef soup. The broth itself was aromatic from its five-spice seasoning and the chunks of beef shank were tender. I did have a quibble with the thick noodles, which had become soft.
In contrast, the stir-fried vermicelli ($8.75), with green onion, Chinese mushroom, fungus, slivered carrots, chopped cabbage and pork was perfectly al dente. This dish had just some light soy seasoning and was a refreshing option for the hot weather.
Refreshing option for hot weather: the stir-fried vermicelli. (PHOTO: TARA LEE)
Stir-fried green beans, green onion, and egg ($6.95) demonstrated an equally deft use of the wok. I loved the crispness of the beans and the fluffy texture of the eggs. The vibrant green and yellow colours also made for a gorgeous plate.
Admiring the wok work on this green bean, green onion and egg stir fry dish. (PHOTO: TARA LEE)
The braised pork belly, pickled cabbage, and marinated egg on rice ($6.60) was a meal unto itself, which really showcased rustic, hearty Taiwanese cooking. The vinegary cabbage and neutrality of the rice balanced the richness of the fatty pork and egg.
The Final Verdict:
After sampling these standout dishes, I was thoroughly impressed. While the furnishings and tableware might cause you to judge the restaurant as superficial, make no mistake, Chamonix takes its cooking seriously and is well worth a visit if you’re a fan of superior Taiwanese cuisine.