Tuesday, May 31, 2016

MUME in Taipei, Taiwan

Beef Tongue

These guys seemed to get mentioned a lot whenever something was written about Andre Chiang's RAW, saying how this was a comparably high-end (and perhaps underrated) place (28 Siwei Road, 2700-0901). Well, I couldn't get a table at RAW no matter how many days I tried camping out at their website at 12 noon two weeks in advance. But I got a spot here with no problem, so I was really looking forward to tonight.

And yeah, I can see what all of the praise was for. These guys really knew how to handle their (local) ingredients, balancing everything nicely without any of it being overpowering, like that very tender beef tongue above, hidden underneath Brussels sprouts, pistachio, and grilled pineapple, all while sitting on an oyster emulsion. I was happy with their "burnt cabbage" featuring roasted hazelnuts and smoked salmon roe, as well as a cobia crudo with ajo blanco, Bhudda's hand, and black pepper oil. Even the bread came out piping hot with a side of dark beer butter and smoked beef fat butter. Nicely done.

Something was a bit odd though: for a place of this caliber, the tables had no linens, and instead each had a little bucket on top with utensils and paper napkins. And when the bill came, it was only NT$2000 (US$61) including drinks, which was only half of what I expected it to be. It was only when I looked it up now and realized that they called themselves "casual fine dining" did it all make sense. Best of all, the service was very speedy; I could've been out of there in well under an hour if I wanted to.

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