Famed Taiwanese honey toast cafe opens this month

Famed Taiwanese honey toast cafe opens this month

No effort has been spared to ensure that the famous Dazzling Cafe from Taiwan is every bit as splendid as its name.

Its sassy Taiwanese founder, Ms Janet Yang, 40, was in town to ensure that the 88-seat cafe's design - and the food - are up to her standards.

Dazzling is known for its thick toasts topped with fruit and cream, mochi waffles and spicy cod roe pasta.

It opens on April 18 at the redeveloped Capitol Piazza with a compact menu. The full slate of dishes will be available by June.

The cafe's ambience caters to "trendy, young and pretty girls", says Ms Yang, pointing to her brand's signature mint and baby blue tones, bunny ear chairs, pretty plates and door handles shaped like diamond rings.

She jokes about her co-founder and twin brother Johnny Yang, who has been on her case for overspending on interior design.

He handles the finances and menu for the cafe chain, which has outlets in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong.

Its first outlet in Singapore is a franchise run by local food company Savoury Creations. There are also plans to expand in South-east Asia. Dazzling Cafe is named after Ms Yang's fashion accessories and jewellery boutique, which she started in 2005 and carries international brands. Noticing that there were not many casual cafes in Taiwan in 2010, the siblings set up the Dazzling Cafe chain.

The mother of one-year-old twin boys says: "We named the cafe after my fashion brand. We figured that those who buy from me will also go to the cafe."

Diners started flocking to Dazzling Cafe for its thick honey toast and bestseller mentaiko pasta ($18.90).

The menu here will feature the same dishes as in Taiwan, with some exclusive items such as spicy seafood tom yum tomato spaghetti ($22.90). Other dishes include smoked Parma ham salad ($12.90), pan-seared duck breast spaghetti in orange mustard sauce ($24.90) and black truffle and wild mushroom spaghetti ($24.90).

Desserts include the signature mochi waffle topped with fruit and ice cream, as well as a variety of drinks.

While she admits to not being familiar with Singapore, Ms Yang has tried local dishes, including chicken rice, bak kut teh and laksa.

She exclaims: "I like laksa. Maybe we can add laksa honey toast to the menu."

She gets serious when trying her own dishes and informs the chef that the mentaiko pasta is a tad salty. Then she tries her mochi waffle, still tasty even after a photoshoot. "That means it is truly yummy," she says, nodding in approval.

While some of the siblings' food concepts, such as a shabu shabu restaurant and a champagne bar, have not worked out, they are still busy with new concepts.

Ms Yang's husband Steven Chien, 39, runs their bubble tea concept Dazzling Express and she is opening a Dazzling bakery in Taiwan next week.

She does not rule out bringing both to Singapore, under Savoury Creations. She laughs when asked about people copying her dishes and brand, saying that there are "so many" of them.

She says: "I'm happy that people copy us, it means we are famous. We are not just selling food, it is also good service in a nice ambience. Dazzling is a lifestyle."

Dazzling Cafe (01-85) at Capitol Piazza opens from April 18, noon to 8pm daily, with selected menu items. The full menu launches in June.

This article was first published on April 5, 2015.
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