Well with his talent and creatively executed dishes, it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if we started seeing him as frequently as we do other great chefs around our city.
We were also discussing as to why no one has thought of a Taiwanese food truck yet, but perhaps we can convince Chef to check out the Night Market when it’s back on this summer!
The Tasting Menu is a 4 course meal ($45) that runs until February 13th, when they will switch over to a 5-course Valentines Day Chef’s Menu (which should be on their website soon!).
Our first course is the Fish Ball with Scallion and Pork Dust – this fish ball is made with ling cod and scallop, ground pork and ginger. The broth reminded me a lot of my dad’s broth he makes for the same type of dish, so it was a heartwarming experience. This is probably the most fanciest fish ball I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. It’s made with ling cod and scallop, the texture is much more tender than what you’re used to at your run of the mill Chinese restaurant with a great, light seafood taste to it. I loved the presentation of this dish, the scallion on the top brightens up this dish as well.
Next course – the Hakka Tea Crusted line caught ling cod. It’s served with a peanut mochi, green onion and lemon vinegar fluid gel. This is one of my favourites of the menu! Hakka Tea is traditionally made by grounding the tea into a paste – sometimes other ingredients are incorporated into it including nuts or beans.
What I loved about this particular dish is that the Hakka complimented the other flavours in the dish by being subtle in flavour and texture. I would say it has a very, very mild earthy taste to it that is common in green and black teas. The lemon vinegar fluid gel brightened the flavours a little bit, without standing out too much. The ling cod itself is crisp on the outside and moist and buttery-flaky in the middle. And of course, we can’t forget about the peanut mochi. This rounded out the dish by giving it a little more weight and was very enjoyable.
Third dish of the evening – the 5 Spiced Braised Pork Belly (liquorice root, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel seed and baby leeks). This is a great take on a traditional dish – and the taste of the five spiced au jus was bang on. This was Brian’s favourite dish of the evening with braised pork belly. The pork belly is extremely tender and barely needed any coaxing with a knife. There is a great, thick portion of fat that may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but this is essentially what pork belly is, right? It is quite indulgent in that way, so needless to say, we were pretty full after this course. Loved the crispy lotus root on top as well to balance out the texture of the dish.
Finally – dessert! Pineapple Cake. Now, I have to admit I’m only used to the versions you can buy from T&T – so my standards are probably not as high as other people. I may just have to try and make this at home one day, as I was looking across the interwebs on how this great cake is made and it seems fairly simple! Anyway, this authentically Taiwanese pastry is filled with real pineapple in a crumbly, buttery crust. What I enjoyed about the cake is it’s purity, it really is just simply the crust and the pineapple. Simplicity always wins.
It’s served with a round ball of sesame ice cream, a bit of kiwi sauce and a dehydrated thin slice of pineapple. I felt that every part of this dish had a purpose and did it’s purpose well. The sesame ice cream was a nice, cool treat that paired well with the pineapple and paid homage to Taiwan’s favourite flavours. The kiwi had a clean taste to it and the slice of pineapple really hammered the taste of pineapple home.
I love the choices that went into this Taiwanese inspired menu, it’s always such a treat to have basic dishes that I’m used to weaved together with fresh, local products and fused with other great ingredients. If you are used to Taiwanese food, this is a great opportunity to try it from a different perspective, and if it’s your first time learning about Taiwanese food, I couldn’t think of a better introduction.
Please note that I was invited by Mosaic to try this menu out and my meal was paid for.