YELLOW LEMON 黃檸檬
561 MingShui Road, ZhongShan District
SUMMER IS IN THE AIR AND IT'S TIME FOR A PICNIC! Or at least that's the idea behind the newest food-meets-art creations by Yellow Lemon and its chef Andrea Bonaffini. Inspired by all growing popularity of picnics in Taipei's parks, Chef Andrea thought, why not bring it to the table? The result is an unique experience that combines food, art, performance, wonder and fun together.
Located on a quiet neighborhood street in Dazhi, Yellow Lemon is a dessert bar offering a menu of salads, sandwiches and cafe fare alongside its desserts and drinks. The first time I came, we were dazzled by the playful take on french toast and the watermelon granita. When it first opened, I thought it was very creative, but that prices were a bit high for the portions, but over the years as more cafes and desserts spots have opened up and I've tried other places like Dominique Ansel's creations in Tokyo, I've realized that Yellow Lemon/Chef Andrea pushes the boundaries (like Dominique Ansel) and it's really a gem of a dessert bar in Taipei.
Yellow Lemon's first table art was a messier splattering and dumping of chocolate and sweets on the table in a picasso style freeform painting (as I later saw, similar to Chicago's Alinea, which you can see in the SPINNING TABLES or CHEF's TABLE docs on Netflix) and I wasn't drawn to eating off the table. But Picnic, a more dainty and composed presentation, definitely caught my eye as other instagrammers started to post their photos of macarons and caviar on a table full of green grass.
I love open kitchens because I love to admire chefs at work. Sometimes it's a good way to get details about the dishes or desserts that you wouldn't ordinarily get to hear.
The desserts for picnic are prepared to order- so everything is assembled and fresh for the right textures and temperatures, which is so important for desserts. This is the apple pie sandwich, which was inspired by apple pie. The thin apple slices are liquid nitrogen'd and sandwich caramel sauce and pop rocks.
We weren't actually sure what Picnic included so we had some lunch first- the beet and arugula salad (NT$320) was SO SO good. I could have eaten a whole one myself, and the Pizza Parma (NT$320) was really great too, with generous toppings of parmesan cheese, parma ham and arugula atop fluffy focaccia bread. The chicken burger with truffle slow cooked onions and sous vide chicken and black sesame bun was also tasty.You could also order their other desserts on the menu, but I love the picnic experience (NT$600/person).
When you are ready, they will lay out the turf. We had four people, so we had two squares of turf. They bring out the elements and scatter them across the table, so we could ooh and aah over each dish as it came out, as our neighbors from the next table did as well. There's both sweet and savory components to the picnic and lots of little delicious surprises. Chef Andrea has said he'd like to change the menu seasonally, so use this as a reference for spring/summer 2016.
Like picnicking in a magical forest.
The strawberry napoleons were so yummy, with fresh cream, strawberries and strawberry crumble.
The playful imitation caviar was actually made out of chocolate, with a panna cotta underneath.
Apple pie sandwich- crispy, caramel and popping from the pop rocks. Loved this.
Even the "dirt" is edible, it's made of chocolate crumbs.
Now that it's either too hot in Taipei or rainy from the June gloom and doom, you can still picnic indoors. Can't wait to see what's going to pop on the table on my next visit!
PS-- For a limited time, check into Yellow Lemon on Instagram or Facebook with a photo, tag @cretinofelice (Yellow Lemon's chef Andrea) and @hungryintaipei, and show the server/chef to get an extra 🍰 free sweet treat with your order!