In July I had a wonderful dinner at a new restaurant in Taipei called Taïrroir 態芮. It is located in the DaZhi area of Taipei, right next to RAW Taipei, in a two building complex of international restaurants, brought in by the same family (including Chili’s, Ruth’s Chris, Aoki Patisserie…etc.). The name is curious and creative, it reflects the mission of the restaurant and its head chef, Chef Kai. The name is a fusion of Taiwan and the French word Terroir. Chef Kai is from Taichung, Taiwan and has had quite the culinary training and background, most recently he was the junior Sous Chef under Chef Julien Royer at Singapore’s Odette Restaurant which this year received its second Michelin Star.
As their website states, Taïrror aims to utilize local ingredients, local flavors, and the local Taiwanese spirit but present it using French technique and presentation style. “Via merging personal experience, philosophy and skills, Chef Kai portraits the new gourmandise spirit by transforming classic Taiwanese cuisine, reflects the terrior from different angles to impresses the world about the unique Taiwanese food culture. Welcome to Taïrroir!”And I believe for the most part, he achieves this.
The space is modern chic. The main dining area seats around 20-25 people, with two private dining rooms (one seating 2-4, the other 10-12, and when connected can seat a large party of up to 18-20, each with minimum charge and dedicated wait staff). While no strict dress-code, I was reminded that men should wear closed-toed shoes and long pants, yet no mention for ladies. Nonetheless at a restaurant of this caliber I always think its respectful to everyone to dress at least smart to business casual. Do NOTE: children under 12 are not allowed, just like at RAW.
The service here is impeccable, and quite possibly the best I have ever received at any restaurant in Taipei. Professional, attentive (they anticipate your needs and ask all the right questions), friendly and knowledgable. Albeit our waiter had a softer voice thus it was difficult to hear his explanations of each dish at times. Nonetheless for a front-house staff that has only been working together for 2 months to be this cohesive (at least on the surface), and professional is almost unheard of in Taiwan.
There are 4 menus, 2 lunch and 2 dinner. The starting lunch set lets you choose one of two main courses (6 courses total), while the second one serves them both (7 courses). For dinner there are two completely different menus to choose from both 9 courses, but they are actually quite flexible. One amuse bouche in addition to your menu. The table doesnt have to order the same menu, and if you dont eat a certain item on your desired menu you can basically switch it out with almost anything on the other menu that appeals to you (obviously an appetizer for an appetizer, main for main…etc.). Each person gets a glass of sparkling wine once you are seated. But if you like wine, like I do, I recommend doing the wine pairing, each pour is plenty to share between two people if you just want a few sips to pair with your food. But the wines they choose are quite different than your average wine pairing, lots of good vintage.
The prices here are not cheap for Taiwan. Lunch menus: NT1650 (USD$52) and NT2200(USD$69.50) +10%; Dinner menus: NT3,000 (USD$94.85) and NT5,500 (USD$173.89) +10%. Lunch wine pairing: NT880 (USD$27.82)+10%; dinner wine tasting: NT1600 (USD$50.59) and NT$1800 (USD$56.91) +10%. More expensive than RAW, Mume, or Ephernite, but around the same price as Paris 1930. But we thought it was reasonable for what we got, and still cheaper than a meal of equivalent quality in the United States.
Verdict: I do recommend going to Taïrroir. Its definitely a place my family and I plan to return to. Its suitable for almost any occasion, but probably most suitable for special ones. I’d place it between Paris 1930 and RAW, in terms of price and experience. But its definitely one of the best fine dining experiences I have ever had in Taiwan. In fact, I thought I was in New York or Singapore for a minute.
Pictures of our meal to follow, again please forgive some of the quality, I cant seem to get the right camera combo to get the perfect food shots on my new Fujifilm.
6Fl. #299 Lequan 3rd Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan
Recommended to reserve at the very least 7 days in advance (I recommend a little earlier, at least two weeks).
02 8501 5500 (reservations by phone only between 3PM and 5PM, otherwise email)