Fri, Feb 20, 2009 - Page 15 News List

RESTAURANTS : A380 In-Flight Kitchen (A380空中廚房)

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

VIEW THIS PAGE It’s noon in Taipei, 5am in Paris and midnight in New York as I take my seat in economy class. The seatbelt and no smoking lights have been switched on and the monitor on the wall shows a plane taking off. A “stewardess” comes over to take my order.

Taipei has seen its fair share of theme restaurants over the years. The Jail (惡魔島) shackled diners with handcuffs and crossed the limits of cultural sensitivity by hanging photos of Nazi concentration camps on its prison-like walls. DS Music Restaurant played on a hospital theme, complete with IV drips for drinks, wait staff dressed as nurses and hospital beds for tables.

A380 In-Flight Kitchen is named after the largest passenger airliner in the world. The restaurant looks and functions much like the Airbus it’s named after — though it only has one floor. “Passengers” sit in “first class,” “business class,” or, like this flyer, “economy class.” I was assigned seat 10A. Large comfortable blue chairs with headrests covered with white headrest covers emblazoned with the “airline’s” logo ensure optimum comfort for those long-haul meals. Stewardesses are dressed neatly in uniforms and dash back and forth with trays of “airplane food” or beverages on metal trolleys. A line of oval-shaped windows run along one side and look out onto a white “sky.”

The a la carte and set menus include foie gras filet mignon, vanilla lamb, dory and German pig knuckle (NT$480 for the set menu, NT$420 for a la carte), as well as chicken and pasta. There is also chicken spaghetti (NT$220) and stewed beef in red wine (NT$220) — both set meals and served in the same plastic trays found on airplanes. I went with the grilled US steak set menu (NT$480 set menu, NT$420 a la carte).

A380 In-Flight Kitchen (A380空中廚房)

Address: 168, Dingzhou Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市汀州路三段168號)

Telephone: (02) 2367-3928

Open: Daily from 11:30am to 10pm

Average meal: NT$500

Details: Chinese and English menu; credit cards accepted

The iceberg lettuce salad came with some withered sprouts, chunks of moistureless cucumbers and an out-of-place wedge of sliced boiled ham. The miso dressing didn’t do much to enliven this salad, half of which I left in the bowl. The corn chowder soup wasn’t much of an improvement. It was tasteless and seemed to have come from a packet.

The steak was adequate and came with a dollop of mashed potatoes, a few green beans and baby corn. Cooked to my specifications — medium rare — it was served with a gravy-like sauce, the only purpose of which, aside from complementing the mashed potatoes, was to hide the generous marbling (dare I say gristle) of the beef. Dessert — coffee and sponge cake — was as memorable as the appetizer.

Although the decor is creative and the service prompt, the food will certainly not make me a “frequent flyer” in this mid-range family restaurant.VIEW THIS PAGE

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