chiba Restaurant – Tuck into Comfort Food at the Heart of Taipei’s Ximending Neighbourhood
August 07, 2019
chiba (吃吧), located on the fifth floor of amba Taipei Ximending, is a combined reference to the hotel name, “amba”, and the Chinese phrase ‘chi’, which means ‘to eat’. It is a lively, international café featuring an open kitchen filled with fresh produce, communal seating, and a rich display of collectibles, memorabilia, books and even organic herb plants. Guests staying at amba Taipei Ximending are treated to a hearty spread of breakfast buffet. Apart from the buffet, both hotel guests and the public are able to choose from a selection of Detroit-style square pizza, healthy salads, pastas, steaks, and seafood dishes for lunch and dinner.
You can look forward to sampling creations that focus on fresh ingredients, inspired by authentic American and Italian preparation methods. Get your vitamin fix with a blend of freshly squeezed fruit juices, and finish the meal with a gourmet coffee. If you catch on quick enough, you’ll realised that the fresh juices are influenced by movies – Transformer’s Energon C, Shrek’s Super Tonic, Hunky Green Hulk, and Harry’s Vitamix Potion.
For the creative nomads, a relaxed ambience, free high-speed Wi-Fi, convenient power access, and natural daylight make chiba an ideal mobile workplace. It’s also a great place to celebrate special occasions, from birthdays to graduations to staff parties. This unpretentious café offers the perfect setting for a fun, carefree celebration.
I was hosted to a scrumptious lunch at chiba upon arriving in Taipei. The meal started with the Spicy Fried Chicken Wings (260TWD) with Thai-style Sauce. Each wing is dipped in flour and spices before being fried until their skin turns a beautiful golden brown. They are crispy on the outside, with juicy and succulent meat inside. Coat them with the Thai-style sauce for a sweet, zesty, and slightly spicy end.
The Crab Bomb (320TWD) was served next. This interesting crustacean ball is presented in cheese sauce, flamed with calvados, and served with focaccia. The dish puts up quite a show – a great idea to impress your date. To savour it, mix the crab ball with the cheese and spread it over the focaccia. I was quite surprised that the cheese sauce was light on the palate.
Since Detroit-style pizza is not commonly found in Taipei, I can’t miss out on trying this square pizza that is light and chewy on the inside, yet crispy on the outside, can I? Baked the authentic way in a blue steel pan imported from Detroit, the pizza has an extra crunchy crust, a crispy bottom, and a rich, buttery flavour. Also known as a ‘Red Top’, the pizza is layered upside-down, with toppings on the crust and red sauce on top. In between, a symphony of cheeses, including white cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan, stay gooey in the centre while caramelizing into a crispy crust on the edges.
There is a variety of unique flavours to choose from such as the Ximending Boy’s Club, the Millionaire’s Truffled Mushrooms, the Sicilian Butcher’s Pepperoni, and the Tropical PPAP, just to name a few. I guess my favourite would have to be the Buffalo Ranch Fried Chicken Pizza (390TWD). Since Taiwanese fried chicken is such a popular street snack, and pizza’s almost everyone’s comfort food, chiba decided to top the pizza with tender fried chicken, house blend cheese, buffalo sauce and ranch sauce to present the “best of both worlds”.
Although there are many food options around the Ximending neighbourhood, it’s likely you might get bored of eating the same street food and Taiwanese food every single day. chiba Restaurant offers a good change of cuisine for your palate. Grab your family and friends and head down to chiba because when you’re dining in a big group, you get to try more food.
Address: Level 5, amba Taipei Ximending, 77 Section 2 Wuchang Street, Taipei 10843 Taiwan
Contact: +886 2 2375 2075
Opening Hours: Daily 6.30am to 9.30pm.
Note that this is an invited tasting.