I was absolutely mesmerized when I stepped into Mezamashi Kohi’s “trio” store on Jing Cheng Seventh Street in Taichung. One of the most beautiful cafes I’ve ever seen, Kohi sits nestled in the Jing Cheng Street area, a former US Army Dependants Village, amongst a small cluster of interesting cafes, restaurants, and even B&Bs. These side streets off Jing Cheng Road boasts two storey houses with red gates, green and blue tiles, huge gardens, and many still adorned with traditional details like geometrically shaped window grilles.
Mezamashi Kohi looks like something straight out of Kyoto. Concrete slabs and a mix of dark and light wood panels form the basis of this beautiful compound. Large windows, floor to ceiling glass panels and a slotted wooden screen ensure that plenty of light flows into this airy space. The main seating area is slightly raised by a low wooden platform so that their kitchen looks somewhat depressed. An eye-catching red Kitchenaid sits squarely in the middle of this showcase kitchen while everywhere else is stainless steel, white tiles, or wooden cabinets.
On the second floor, two huge black pendant lights hang above a long wooden bench from a gabled roof, while on another table a lone green apple sits on top of a pile of neatly folded napkins. And in the backdrop, through an open window, the green tiled roof of a neighbour’s pavilion beckons.
With a Japanese name but homegrown in Taichung, the original 目覺 (as it is more often called in Chinese) shops serve coffee, tea, simple pastries and Japanese fusion style brunch foods like mentaiko and seaweed or pickled onions and salmon on toasted baguette. Kohi’s third shop on Jing Cheng Seventh Street, still in its soft opening phase when I visited, was serving only drinks and a handful of pastries. I ordered a milk tea and pineapple and early grey ice-cream but to my dismay the milk tea arrived with bits of skin (from the heating of milk that is) floating about and a dabble of cream slopped in. Very unattractive. The ice-cream was also mediocre – we do a much better job at teakha I must say.
Despite the less than satisfactory food, 目覺三店 Mezamashi Kohi’s trio is still worth a visit, if only for its beauty and for the chance to dream upon such amazing space which we will never have in Hong Kong.
Mezamashi Kohi’s “trio” 目覺三店 is at 1 Jing Cheng Seventh Street, Taichung
tel: (886) 04-23292566