I don’t remember how I got wind of Cari de madame 咖哩娘, but after reading up about it and checking pictures on their fb page, I made sure to go feast there on whenever my next trip to Taipei was to be. Until that journey occurred, I found myself craving curry now and then, my mind kept flashing back to pictures of their trays of spices, and I’d end up sighting, knowing it wouldn’t be another couple of weeks before I’d head up to the capital again. But after all, as the saying goes, hunger is the best spice… although, in this case, there was maybe a spice that was one too many, and it wasn’t hunger.
I haven’t dabbled much with cooking curry at home. I mean, I’m not sure throwing one of those Japanese chocolate-bar looking curry into a pot of boiling water qualifies as making curry. Still, that stuff is awfully convenient and does not taste so bad, thinking of it, I should probably include one pack in my typhoon/Apocalypse survival kit. On a separate occasion, feeling inspired, I had bought a bag of Thai green curry paste, but then never mustered (not mustard 😛 ) the effort to gather all the required ingredients, tried to wing it with my meager food pantry, and well, the result wasn’t too glorious, but as far as I recall it didn’t make me 拉肚子. TMI? Yikes, sorry, probably a sign that I’ve been in Taiwan for too long 😄 .
At any rate, Cari de madame makes curry from scratch with their own spice blend, which was the main reason drawing me there in the first place. They have a restrained menu, and try to source quality products with local free-range eggs and cereals-fed pork, and natural farmed beef from New Zealand. A place that carefully selects their products, I can dig that.
The menu is made up of stainless steel plates for the choice of curries, and wooden plates for side items. The English, is pretty self-explanatory, except for the mysterious Limited 限, which consists of a duo of stewed pork and beef.
Onto the food, just follow the pictures and comments 🙂 .
Now, about that curry I so longed for. To all those with absolute zero tolerance for anything spicy, as in spicy hot, beware! The curry actually does pack a small amount of heat, but enough that people not used to spicy food will find it unbearable. There’s a soup curry option with vegetables, which I imagine is a little toned down in terms of spiciness, but I can’t attest to that, so order at your own risk. If you want it extra spicy, they’ll actually bring small jars of condiments for you kick it up a notch.
The spiciness didn’t bother me so much, although my friend was agonizing over it, no, it was more the bitterness that spoiled it for me. Despite being a trained bitter gourd 苦瓜eater, something tasted off, and well, I think that the extra sour amuse-bouche only exacerbated this unpleasant bitterness. Taiwanese food bloggers seem to be split over this bitterness point, but the majority appears to approve, so I’m thinking this may just be an acquired-taste kind of thing.
Usually, when the food is so so, a good service can somewhat salvage the dining experience, but on that day, the guys on duty looked a bit scatterbrained or maybe just high, forgetting to refill the water, taking away my napkin along with the amuse-bouche tray and having me request twice for a knife (for my friend and then myself).
Even if I was little disappointed and went a bit harsh 😐 on my review, I still felt like writing about this place. For the curious curry lovers out there, who knows, maybe you’ll actually like it.
I also still think it’s rather cool that they take the effort to blend their own spices, but only wish that they’d adjust the recipe to tone it down a bit and make it less aggressive on the taste buds, or find the right balance in their spice blend. But well, this an entirely personal opinion from a picky-as-hell eater 😈 .