Fri, Apr 16, 2010 - Page 14 News List

RESTAURANTS : Kitchen Pucci 葡吉小廚

By Catherine Shu  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Kitchen Pucci (葡吉小廚) is a tapas bar with Shanghai-style food. The interior of the restaurant is clean and modern, with floor-to-ceiling windows in the back that show off a row of live bamboo against a red brick wall. The petite portions of Shanghai classics, including xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings, are adorable, as are the restaurant’s extremely reasonable prices and quick, friendly service.

There are two versions of xiaolongbao, one filled with fragrant broth and one without. The best version is, not surprisingly, the former, which are called steamed Shanghai juicy dumplings (上海小籠包, NT$180 for 12) on the menu. Rich, savory and indeed juicy, they are served on a bed of pine needles, which, without altering the flavor, prevent the thin wrapper from sticking to the bamboo steamer. The other steamed dumplings (小籠包, NT$50 for three or NT$100 for six) are acceptable but lack the oomph that the broth provides.

Other pleasing picks on Kitchen Pucci’s menu include its small serving of “Szechuan-style” steamed spareribs (川味粉蒸排骨, NT$80), which are covered in ground rice flavored with spices, lots of pepper and served on top of steamed yam chunks. The tender meat slipped off the bone upon contact with our chopsticks. My dining companions and I also enjoyed the fried scallion roll with beef (大餅捲牛肉, NT$110). The crispy exterior of the wrapping gave way to a chewy center and the scallions landed just the right amount of kick (though the roll could have done with a little

more beef).

Kitchen Pucci’s noodle dishes come with “thin noodles” or chunky knife-shaved noodles (刀削麵), which are sliced directly from the dough into thick strips before being boiled. The knife-shaved noodles have a satisfyingly al dente texture without any unpleasant graininess on the inside. We liked them best in the Shanghai-style scallion mixed noodles (上海蔥開乾拌麵, NT$80) because the scallions, cooked several different ways (the green leaves fried until crispy, the white stalks boiled until soft) offered an unexpected melange of textures. The mixed noodles with spicy sauce (辣醬乾拌麵, NT$80) were also good, though not as fiery as the chili pepper symbol next to the menu entry suggests. The stir-fried knife-shaved noodles with Judas’ ear fungus (木須炒麵, NT$120), however, were too greasy and bland.

Kitchen Pucci 葡吉小廚

Address: 1 Nanjing W Rd, Taipei City (台北市南京西路1號)

Telephone: (02) 2563-2787

Open: Mondays to Fridays 11am to 9:30pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 10pm

Average meal: NT$200 to NT$300

On the Net: www.new-puen.tw/KTtop.htm

Details: Chinese, English and Japanese menu. Credit cards accepted


For dessert, consider the steamed bean paste buns (豆沙小包, NT$60 for six) — very thin flour wrappers stuffed with sweet red bean paste. Simple, but a suitable complement to the stronger flavored main dishes.

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