Fri, Jul 11, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: Evergarden (長園)

By Ian Bartholomew  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lobster is the main dish on the menu at Evergarden this month.


It is no mean achievement to make a shipping line sexy, but with the Evergreen Laurel Hotel the company intends to appear suave and sophisticated -- even if it can't quite make the third S.

As one of the most expensive boutique hotels currently operating in Taipei, a fact that the hotel makes no effort to conceal, it is no surprise that considerable time and energy have been spent in the wining and dining department. After all, with room rates at NT$30,000 for a family suite, it helps to be on a fairly generous expense account when staying there.

The Evergarden, which is the hotel's main dining area, provides a solid menu of Cantonese food, which is also squarely aimed at a corporate clientele. Despite its substantial a-la-carte menu, PR manager Maggie Huang (黃伊萱) said that the majority of customers opt for one of the many set menus offered by the restaurant, which are served in Western style, with individual plates.

The lobster set menu is a good indication of Evergarden's style. The NT$2,000 set provides nine courses, so that even though each is small and owes more to artistry than to bulk to fill the plate, you finish up very well fed. "It started out from the idea of lobster done in three different styles," said sous chef Lin Wen-chao (林文超), who designed the menu. Starting out with a cold lobster platter, which provides big chunks of tasty lobster in a light dressing, the meal moved on to braised birds nest with minced lobster (龍皇燕液羹), its rich red broth made from boiling lobster heads and, followed by the sauteed lobster with egg white bouillon (雪裡現龍蹤), in which the pink of lobster flesh peeks out from the egg white mix, "like mountain flowers in the snow." It looks good, and doesn't taste too bad either. These dishes are garnished with scallops, abalone, Cantonese e-fu noodles, and sauteed lily flowers. Then there's dessert, coffee and a fruit platter.

Address: 63, Sungchiang Rd, Taipei (台北市松江路63號)

Telephone: (02) 2518 8398

Open: 11:30am to 2pm; 5:30pm to 10pm

Average meal: NT$800 (lunch), NT$1000 (dinner)

Details: English menu. Credit cards accepted

This style of mini banquet has proved popular with many up-scale restaurants catering to high-end business travelers, as it provides flexibility of selection with the appearance of luxury. The availability of a vegetarian set, which has to pass a taste test from Evergreen CEO Chang Rong-fa (張榮發), means that nobody is left nibbling at the vegetable side dishes.

Evergarden offers plenty of medicinal foods for the overworked business traveler, along with the usual range of Cantonese delicacies such as shark's fin, abalone, and ginseng broths. But its simple fried noodles and soup noodles, price between NT$250 and NT$350 are full of good things, and almost worth the price tag.

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