On my trip to Taiwan, I was adamant I made it a Jay Chou pilgrimage. For those not familiar with this ‘president’, Jay Chou was (and still is) one of the most popular Taiwanese male singers at the turn of the century, but you’ll find him dipping his toes in the movie industry too. He’s also my idol. He opened the first Mr. J’s in 2006, and later opened a second branch in the Taiwan Medical University (click here). I visited the first of his Mr. J’s near Zhongsan station.
First impressions count right? And the door of Mr. J’s was not open, so I was at first horrified to think that the restaurant was closed when I arrived. Fortunately not, and the waitress indicated through the window to push it. Through. And shown to one of the tables nearer the kitchen on the ground floor. With only five tables on the ground floor, and a bar table, I would say it’s quite small, but the restaurant actually has 3 floors.
Mr. J’s feeds amy Jay Chou fan’s hunger. From being handed the specially decorated menu, to the oil paintings on the 2nd and 3rd floor, up to the payment counter over by the exit with all the Jay memorabilia for sale. However, let’s stop there with the Jay overload and bring you back to the food. Is it good? Hell yes.
Orders wise, a Mr. J’s House Special Black tea and a Farfalle al Sugo di Pollo for moi. The tea was similar to your standard lemon tea from Hong Kong, but the tea was really ‘pure’, not the muddy bitter flavour you can sometimes get. Taiwan’s known for their good quality of tea. Refreshing and cold, just how lemon tea should be.
A little while later, my pasta arrived. Under the yellow tinted light, I can give you a wild guess as to say my pasta was a lobster colour, rosy orange. First impressions, sauce looked a bit runny, but generally well presented and steaming away. Pasta was al dente (something that I thought this part of the globe seemed to not understand until I came here). Sauce was gorgeous – consisting of leek, garlic, chilli, onion and tomato, matched with generous amounts of chicken pieces. I actually scooped up a spoonful of the sauce and ate it, not remembering at the time what was in the pasta, but it was so very tasty.
So you are thinking that it’s no wonder that I praise this place, because it is my place of pilgrimage (kind of). Maybe that might boost its image in my mind. However a points to note: good italian cuisine is hard to find in Hong Kong (maybe I am looking in the wrong price range), so much that I could guarantee you that I could match or better the standards of some of the restaurants. Food made to order is a rarity, but you find this is exactly how it is done in Mr. J’s, so be prepared to wait for your food. We were able to watch the 3-4 cooks (side note: on the good looking side of the spectrum) in the kitchen prepare our food, as it is on the ground floor viewable to the whole restaurant via a tinted pane of glass.
I really love this place. The staff probably get it all the time, these annoying young girls taking photos of this that and whatever; hogging the menus for taking photos and even more photos, spending hours in the company of oil paintings and the squealing… but they don’t shoo you away. Being in the middle of practically nowhere, this place was made for the fans. And I hope it stays that way
Mr. J’s French-Italian Restaurant
No. 3, Lane 308
Guangfu South Road, Da-an district
Taipei City 106
Alternative review (click here)