Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shanghai Dumpling

This Chinese restaurant is located at the 7th floor Big City Mall in Hsinchu City another Shanghai dining favorite. While it's nothing too extravagant the decor and interior is very modern with subtle hints of Asian culture exudes warmth and intimacy which makes for a heart-warming affair at the restaurant. We have come to Shanghai Dumpling a few times and the food is always good and delicious. It is a very popular place but it doesn’t take long for the queue to build up.
This is one of my husband favorite chicken dishes to have on everytime we come here. Which is drunken chicken, soaked in wine, up until the moment you remove the chicken from its bath and set it on the plate to eat. This chicken is cold and juicy.
The whole tomato lobster salad was really interesting and delicious. I did like the presentation of the tomatoes loaded with lobster and the sauce is light and creamy.
Next we try the Taiwanese beef noodle. The noodles were pleasantly firm to the touch, the soup was mild in flavor and the meat was tender with some firm bok choy topped off the dish which was the perfect addition.
This was one of my favorite dishes here, is the handmade noodles 'stir fry seafood noodles' It was so simple, but really interesting and tasty. 
Another one of my favorite dishes here, is the pan fried dumplings a crispy, chewy dumpling skin with a pork were piping hot and so filling! The combination of cabbage meat somewhow it taste like fish ball and the sweet-sour sauce provided relief.
Were in a classic kind of mood, so we also order these steamed pork dumplings. They were made from scratch after you order them, and steamed to the perfection. But I think we'd still prefer the steamed dumplings specially the steamed chicken dumplings from Din Tai Fung.
And we were just getting warmed up. My husband ordered a whole steamed seabass with pickle fragrant manjack tree or bird lime tree with shredded scallion and soy sauce. These little berries look like a tiny green olives tasted like mildly sweet olives. I’m not a fan of whole steamed fish I always prefer steamed cod or fish fillet without head and tail. Nevertheless it was healthy, non-greasy, delicious fish.
 Next up is the deep fried lamb chop in garlic and scallion flavored it was also the only one where we didn’t finish the entire plate.
Deep-fried taro-stuffed toast roll with sesame, these are a must have after the heavy meal.
Last but not least  is the custard steamed buns. The golden lava filling is a molten, buttery, yolky sweetness, fluffy and utterly delicious. When served piping hot, these are amazing. Overall, the service is always promptly the food was pretty good..decent. Great place to grab dumplings and noodles in a big shopping mall in Hsinchu.
Shanghai Dumpling
(Big City) 7F No.229 Zhongyang Road, East District Hsinchu City

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Taipei

The L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Taipei branch is located at Bellavita is world-class in terms of quality with 3 star Michelin restaurants. We came to L'Atelier last sunday to celebrate my daughter 15th birthday. She was really excited that she was able to experience this restaurant. On arrival we were warmly greeted, and taken to our table close to the bar.
The decor of the restaurant is a very modern red and black, quite chic and sophisticated with a large counter surrounding an open air kitchen shared between each room.
We were then served their bread basket. A complimentary bread was beautiful assortment of miniature french bread. The baguette and boule was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Other type of the of bread was just like a croissant and buns was cold but nonetheless it was perfect. I think it was the novelty of miniature french bread loaves!
We each got a amuse bouche for our starter was a  foie gras and parmesan cheese foaming served in a small shot glass and eaten with a spoon. It was good and very pleasant taste if you are massive foie gras lover.
Our appetizers arrived soon after amuse bouche. The le petit calamar was a baby squid stuffed with brandade in sweet pepper and chorizo sauce for my son.
L’oeuf de poule, was a poached egg and spring salad Russian style topped with a crisp sesame tuile. It was very elegant!
And I have the 'La châtaigne' a chestnut soup in celery broth and chicken wing was delicious but not salty enough on my liking.
Le potiron was a pumpkin soup with country bread crouton and olive oil with the vibrant orange-yellow of the soup.
For the main dishes accompanied by mashed potato (no photo): Le boeuf for the birthday celebrant was a red wine braised beef cheek was very tender and matched perfectly with the creamy polenta.
La cote de porc, was a Milanese style pork chop with grated parmesan cheese, cherry salad and balsamic vinegar. My husband ordered this but he didn’t like it. It was slightly tough and dry, he actually disappointed! I made this kind of dish a couple of times at home and I'm confident that my cordon blue and schnitzel was slightly juicy and soft in the inside!
And I choose the le vivaneau was a steamed red snapper in broth slightly with (no photo) tomato served with garlic crouton and rouille sauce. Wonderful red snapper that was fresh and  perfectly cooked with a lovely bite from the tomatoes and other vegetables but once again it slightly less in salt on my linking.
Le napoleon was a pan-seared fish with lemongrass foam and stewed baby leeks. My son feeling disappointed, he thought that the fish it was a very small dish and still feeling hungry!!!!! So we better run to Starbucks and Ireland potato afterwards.
Up next the desserts! The la poire was a soft pear comfit cooked in red wine on a light vanilla panna cotta and cassis sorbet for my daughter. As a young girl it felt whimsical a delightful and delicious dessert.
Le muscavado was a crepe suzette flambé topped with rum. My husband really enjoying this sweet delish!
I  order the le souffle was a grand marnier souffle with orange ice cream and chocolate sauce. While the souffle was rapidly melting away and the mildly tangy orange ice cream provided the richness of the souffle and were surprisingly good!
Le mascarpone a tiramisu style with espresso sorbet is one of my son favorite dessert.
The waitress brought us a small pre-dessert came along with a complimentary raspberry mousse cake with happy birthday. We told to the staff it was my daughter birthday! So they prepared a small cake for her with a candle and  we appreciate that very much for making her day so special!
Once again, we each got and served a fruit sorbet!
And a perfect latte and cappuccinos and petite canelé's to end the meal.
Overall the staff were very attentive, the service is impeccable, professional and nice. They explained every detail of each dish patiently. What was interesting was that all the dishes I felt were the strongest to please the wide array is the amuse bouche and the desserts maybe because we amazed on their presentations. The main course fell slightly average you wouldn't say very delicious and no wow factor! I think Chez Janou in Paris and Jamie Oliver fifteen restaurant in London beat their main courses basis on my experienced and opinion. Therefore we simply couldn't compare Jamie's  Italian dishes to French creativity on the menu. However, it was still a great experience to be able to dine such a renowned and well known restaurant. The question is, if we will return,  probably we will try their Salon de Joël Robuchon for afternoon tea.
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Bellavita 5F., No.28, Song-ren Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei City
台北市信義區松仁路28號Bella Vita 5樓
Tel No: 02-8729 2628

Monday, December 17, 2012

Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant

I had read too much blogged about Watami and got such good reviews. It's not like most Watami restaurants which has quite a found anywhere else at the other global branches around Asia. But this Watami branch restaurant in Chupei City Hsinchu was a bit disappointment about the quality of their food. I'm going to be honest and you may not like it for patronize Watami goer. First of all, the atmosphere is a picture of modernity, extremely intimate. I found it quite nice actually. The menu had Chinese, Japanese and English translations and the food is exceptional, especially considering how big the menu is. We went here for lunch and there's no queue and not much customers and saw an empty tables! We were seated quickly and given our menus and our orders are taken.
First to arrive at our table was an chawanmushi it has a smooth texture but it wasn't good if we compare it to Sixteenth Avenue Japanese Restaurant in Kuangfu Road.
Tonpeiyaki is an egg roll loaded with pork, cheese, cabbage and eggs it is drizzled with a sweet mayo-mustard sauces a heaping pile of spring onion are added on top of it. I find it quite similar to my favorite okonomiyaki. However it was a solid food.
We ordered some sushi fo my kids and they really like sushi and sashimi or raw fish more than us. So we sampled some of thier sushi platter that they can share was a deluxe assorted irodori sushi was a salmon, scallop and shrimp on a sushi roll with wasabi. Lightly glazed with a sweet soy sauce dressed with a mayonnaise.
Next up is the deluxe assorted irodori sushi was salmon, eel and tuna which is similar to deluxe assorted irodori sushi. The presentation is good but if we compare it to the other sushi shops a little bit let down. Their sushi is fresh but it wasn't that really fresh!
We never miss ordering their Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki pork and seafood. It was okay and nothing so special. I've had other okonomiyaki meals before in different styles. But this okonomiyaki it was bland,  tastes like just a batter and noodles with hint of thick soy sauce.
The roasted horse dried mackerel probably wasn't the best quality it was stench and smelled like it died in the ocean. We didn't eat anyway.
This breaded and fried pork cutlet or tonkatsu is most definitely my son favorite Japanese food.
For desserts, we shared a generous portion of fruit in honey toast box covering sliced of banana, strawberry, mango, ice cream, whipped cream then drizzled with chocolate sauce and caster sugar it was quickly disappointed.
The watami azuki red bean soup with rice cake was a bit bland. Overall; the service was better than the food, fortunately we only ordered a few dishes. Though, considering the tonpeiyaki was delicious but there are so many other good restaurants nearby, stay safe, skip this one.
Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant-居食屋「和民
No.137, Guangming 1st Rd., Zhubei City, Hsinchu County 302
Tel No: 036570208