With a cozy ambiance, professional and amicable service and a set menu that exhibits a level of thoughtfulness beyond its price, there is nothing not to like about French restaurant Your Kitchen.
Tucked away in a quiet alley between Zhongshan North Road and Tianjin Street (天津街) in Taipei, the spacious restaurant is stylish — a chic palette of black, white and gray is gently offset by the warmth of wood and soft lighting — and comfortable.
The sometimes curt manner often associated with French restaurants is nowhere to be found. Instead, the atmosphere is a mix of neighborliness and charm, which was illustrated by the wait staff who, upon seeing my dining partner and I arriving on two wheels on a busy Friday evening, offered to store our bicycles in the backyard.
Next to the entrance, several young cooks in the spotless open kitchen worked on a six-course set menu that changes on a monthly basis.
April’s fare focuses on seafood. Our dinner started out well with the French-style smoked salmon with mousse. The melt-in-the-mouth fish and tart mousse were a match made in heaven. The salmon can also be sampled together with small slices of potato sprinkled with a fresh honey mustard dressing, as our waiter suggested.
Made with chestnuts, mushroom, butter and chicken stock, the rich chestnut cream soup was fine but unimpressive. My favorite course of the evening was the pan-roasted fish with clam and saffron sauce. The visually inviting and colorful dish features bites of finely textured deep-sea grouper served with red bell pepper and a creamy clam sauce that owes much of its delightful flavor to the addition of saffron.
After a dish of tongue-cleansing Chinese tea sorbet, our enjoyable meal continued with roasted duck breast and green peppercorn sauce. It was a well-prepared dish as the meat was delectable, and the fat under the grilled skin delivered an oily hit of delectable flavors.
On the evening we visited, each diner was treated to a plate of octopus risotto.
Our six-course feast ended with chocolate Bavaroise and cold herb soup. The cream dessert, made with banana and rum, was a fitting climax.
Because the restaurant has a limited number of seats, making a reservation at the weekend is a necessity.
Your Kitchen’s menu can be found on the restaurant’s Web site at www.yourkitchen.com.tw.