For those of you who are familiar with places to dine in Taiwan, I’m sure you are aware that many (young) Taiwanese are absolutely crazy about theme restaurants with a unique and special twist. And usually the cuter and ‘more out there,’ the better. To me, it seems to be all about the overall dining experience rather than the actual food served. You can dine sitting on a toilet while eating food from a ‘squatty,’ be tempted by food shaped like ‘Hello Kitty’ that is served by a waitress wearing a pink dress with cute bows, or share a meal with your ‘Barbie’ or ‘Ken’ while sitting on chairs adorned with tutu fabric at a restaurant where hot pink is the color choice.
So with Chinese Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I decided to do some digging and research to find the perfect, ‘cutesy’ theme restaurant to celebrate this special occasion. My husband had a confused smile when I informed that we would be enjoying a meal at ‘Chin Chin’ Restaurant (meaning ‘Kiss Kiss’) to kick off our early Chinese V-Day celebration!
Chin Chin is located in an area known as Moncoeur (more on that area in another blog) on the hills of Dakeng located on the outskirts of Taichung. Dakeng is home to several theme restaurants and sightseeing areas and it seems like more and more are being built around the area. This restaurant is targeted towards couples, lovebirds who want to dine and enjoy a unique and romantic experience.
The whole unique experience commences just as you enter the restaurant. You are greeted by a host wearing cupid wings with a heart in the middle. The host instructs you to combine lavender water and yogurt milk to make a ‘love potion’ that is equally shared and drank my the couple. The host then asks each of you to stand on the hearts located on the floor and a photo is taken. The picture is developed and at the end of the meal given to you, the couple, as a keepsake and memento along with a card written in Chinese.
Call me corny, but I rather enjoyed this unique ‘greet’ feature. Many smaller, hole in the wall restaurants in Taiwan have a casual feel, with a free for all, sit wherever you please arrangement. I really appreciate the host taking the time to greet each couple individually and give them a warm and inviting welcome.
The restaurant has three levels. I strongly suggest asking to dine on the main level or the upper level. We were led to the downstairs portion which is located near the bathrooms and had a rather unpleasant damp, musty smell. I am assuming it is only used when the upper two levels are full. I politely refused to dine downstairs and we were offered a table on the upper level, without a window view, which was fine by us.
After finding suitable seating, the whole love experience continued. The waitress passed us the cutest menus containing the words ‘for him’ and ‘for her.’ We were asked to order for our partner but we opted to order from the same menu: my husband ordered the steak while I ordered the chicken.
Lavender tea was also part of the set meal price. Instead of being sweetened with sugar, lollipops were placed in the cups and proceeded to melt as the as the tea was poured in. This was a special and unique touch that I have never seen before. Free refills and extra lollipops were available as well.
The appetizer consisted of a choice between corn chowder and vegetable soup, both served with bread. I chose the first option while my husband chose opted for the latter one. Refills were also available free of charge.
The main entrees were served on one large platter, keeping with the love and dating theme. The chicken was stuffed with rosemary and other herbs which exceeded my expectations and was surprisingly delicious. My husband sampled a good portion of my chicken and preferred the chicken over the beef.
A very small glass of fruit flavored sushie was offered as well with refills. The crushed ice drink was a welcome relief on a hot day so mine was refilled several times. However, a larger glass could have been offered in summer but since most Taiwanese refrain from drinking cold beverages even during the summer, I totally understand their logic behind providing small glasses.
Dessert was also included in the set menu which consisted of a milk pudding with a fruit puree on top. No option was given for dessert.
In summary, I really enjoyed the unique and overall experience. The servers paid close attention to us without being too interfering. It was a great way to celebrate an early Chinese V-Day in Taiwan. The meal was a reasonable priced at under NT$1500 for two. Plus, we got to drink a love potion, stand on hearts, order from his and her menus, eat from the same platter while at the same time being attended to by cupid!
Please note the that there is an entry fee for the premises of Monceour ($200 per person on weekends, but a $100 coupon is given which can be used anywhere inside) The grounds contain several buildings resembling European achitecture so we decided to take advantage of the surroundings for some photo opps!!
Have you ever dined a theme restaurant? If so, what was your dining experience like? If not, are you willing to give it a try?
And for all the couples out there, Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day!
(Chinese Valentine’s Day, also known as Qixi Festival, falls on the 7th day of the 7th month on the lunar calendar. )
All of these opinions are purely my own!