Thu, Dec 31, 2009 - Page 13 News List




Shi-Yang Culture Restaurant


Address: 7, Ln 350, Xiwan Rd Sec 3, Sijhih City, Taipei County (台北縣汐止市汐萬路三段350巷7號)

Telephone: (02) 2646-2266

Open: Tuesdays to Sundays noon to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm

Average Meal: NT$1,100 per person

Details: Reservations recommended two weeks in advance on weekdays and six weeks for weekends; credit cards accepted

On the Net:

A Zen-inspired decor and slow food approach to cuisine makes Shi-Yang Culture Restaurant (食養山房) the perfect place for burnt-out city dwellers. Diners don’t even have to bother deciding what to eat, as the prix-fixe menu (NT$1,100 per person) is simply based on whatever fresh and local ingredients are available.

Shi-Yang’s 10-course meal, a healthy interpretation of the traditional Taiwanese banquet, emphasizes seafood and fresh vegetables. The Taipei Times also found other delightful surprises, from the homemade peanut tofu and a savory mochi (麻糬) filled with mullet roe to the home-brewed rose and pineapple vinegars served between courses to cleanse the palette.

Presentation is as important as the food itself at Shi-Yang, where many dishes are decorated with fresh flowers and leafy sprigs from the restaurant’s garden. The meal culminates in a fragrant chicken soup, which the waiter brings to the table with a lotus flower on top. The petals open up before diners’ eyes and practically melt into the soup.

Shi-Yang has just moved to a new mountainside property in Sijhih City after 10 years in Yangmingshan, but is as busy as ever. Reservations on weekends need to be made at least six weeks in advance.— David Chen

Osmanthus Farm (桂花農園)

Address: 4 Sinsingkeng, Longsheng Village, Shihding Township,

Taipei County (台北縣石碇鄉隆盛村新興坑4號)

Telephone: (02) 2663-4011

Open: 11am to 9pm

Average meal: NT$400

Details: Chinese menu; credit cards accepted

On the Net:

Osmanthus Farm is located in one of the many nooks in the hills around Taipei that with a bend in the road seem to take you deep into the countryside. It is a scenic restaurant where visitors can sit on verandas and enjoy the view and the breeze, but it has the distinction of actually being an osmanthus farm, with food that draws heavily on its own produce.

The farm serves up a menu of more than 20 dishes and 12 types of blended tea featuring osmanthus. Considerable ingenuity is exercised, creating a wide range of very different tasting dishes. Some of these are twists on conventional Taiwanese cuisine, while others are inspired flights of fancy.

The main dining area is rather dingy, in the manner of many mountain chicken establishments (土雞城), but there are terraced verandas out back that overlook the hills of Shihding (石碇) and Shenkeng (深坑). This area, though simply furnished, is extremely pleasant. Service was fast and unfussy, and presentation was invariably elegant, though the use of disposable paper rice bowls somewhat spoiled the effect.— Ian Bartholomew


Address: 53 Dongfeng St, Taipei City (台北市東豐街53號)

Telephone: (02) 2706-3553

Open: 3:30pm to 1am

Average meal: NT$1,000

Details: Chinese and English menu; credit cards accepted

Taipei’s bistro and tapas-style dining dernier cri reaches a new apogee in the form of Diary, a stylish bar-cum-restaurant whose fusion menu focuses on bold combinations and striking presentation.

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