A mixture of Chinese qi aesthetics and modern chic, Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine is located at a prime location near the intersection of Renai and Anhe roads. Black stone, dark brown woods and off-white walls imbue the spacious restaurant with elegance and simplicity, characteristics also to be found in its fusion dishes.
Experimenting with playful combinations of elements from Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, French and Italian cuisines, the chefs' modus operandi is to use as little oil and salt as possible.
Foods are steamed, stewed and sauted rather than deep-fried. Chinese herbs are used as condiments.
Customers can choose from two varieties of set meals (NT$390 and NT$450) that come with vegetable and fruit juice, soup, salad, seasonal fruits and dessert. As for the main course, 18 options are available, made from ingredients such as truffles, wild mushrooms and ginseng.
Among the popular items is a rosemary vegetable hot pot. The Japanese-style dish is presented in a Chinese clay pot to keep the food warm and is made from milk and Brazilian mushrooms. The five-colored chestnut option is a satisfyingly presented dish that will appeal to nut lovers: It is a playful assemblage of chestnuts, cashew nuts, red dates and black beans in a tomato sauce base.
The harmonious union of East and West is best expressed in the wild mushroom noodles. Filling in for spaghetti, Taiwanese mianhsian (麵線), a thread-thin noodle made from wheat floor, goes surprisingly well with tomatoes, wild mushrooms, basil and olive oil.
For people who want to sample the ancient wisdom of the East, the Chinese angelica and mushroom hot pot is both tasty and therapeutic, while the sesame oil vegetable hot pot with ginger and rice wine is the traditional Taiwanese recipe for women who need to boost their blood circulation.
The restaurant welcomes customers to take a peek in its kitchen, which on a recent visit was found to be a clean, well-organized working space. All ingredients are kept in fridge containers with date labels. "The first thing our superintendents do every morning is to check the dates and make sure everything is fresh," manager Simon Liu (劉曉明) said.
Starting out in Taichung earlier this year, Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine has grown rapidly and now has six branches in Taipei, Hsinchu and Taichung (the other one in Taipei is on Tianmu West Road, call (02) 2874-5967).