RAW – Homage to Taiwan

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Taipei, December 2017 – Our much anticipated dinner at RAW certainly lived up to its reputation (#24 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017, #1 in Taiwan) ! Chef André Chiang is the only Chinese chef on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list (#14 World’s 50 Best Restaurants, #2 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants). Chef André’s culinary style and technique were obvious in RAW’s cuisine in this trendy casual chic restaurant. He works in collaboration with Chef Alain Huang and Chef Zor Tan to create RAW’s innovative menu.

The decor used elements of nature such as raw wood as well as lots of industrial metals. I spotted one wooden sculpture by none other than Chef André Chiang!  One of the must-do at RAW is paying a visit to the restrooms which are cabins inside tubular metal structures. Another most memorable feature was the “scent” – a lovely fresh lavender filling the air.

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It was a degustation menu of 9 courses, and we happened to chance upon the menu – what the waiter described as “the best of all seasons”…a combination of RAW’s signature dishes. About 70% of the produce used are from Taiwan, reinforcing the farm to table concept.

Taro, Peanut, Fruit Corn – two snackings were presented. The first was taro and peanut mousse on a corn crisp. The second one (which I really loved) playing with these same ingredients was a crispy corn served sushi style on Taiken 9 rice.

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Green Tomato, Green Curry, Green Strawberry – Mr. King and I found this such a refreshing dish with a total of 8 types of locally grown tomatoes, topped with the pink foamy gazpacho.

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Taiken 9, Chicken and Leek – Taking a typical Taiwanese dish of chicken rice, the chicken and leek were put inside a “hamburger” but the “buns” were replaced by Taiken 9 rice at the bottom and a thinly slice of crispy chicken skin on top. For me, the chicken skin was the key element which gave this dish a “kick”! The taste was divine!

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Potato and Egg – This bowl of potato emulsion looked familiar…very similar to the potato emulsions we have had at Chef’s flagship – Restaurant Andre in Singapore. But as with most of Chef Andre’s creations, there is a always a twist. In this dish, he used 6 types of eggs – century egg powder, salty egg powder, ikura from Japan, Taiwanese flying fish roe and herring caviar. The result is an explosion of flavors and textures with every spoonful.

Mahogany, Sumo Miso, Water Lotus – We were presented with this stunning shell filled with dried crumbs made from the scallop’s mantle, followed by a light broth. No part of the scallop went to waste.

Finally, the scallop arrived wrapped in a web of spinach leaves, and it was juicy inside and crunchy outside. Mr. King and I professed this to be the most impressive course of the evening.

Lobster, Magao, Dried Fish – The lobster was stir-fried in a rich Taiwanese style satay sauce and then topped with dehydrated cabbage.

Veal – The unlikely pairing of veal and octopus over crispy beancurd skin was a real genius idea, and it was delicious.

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Banana Cream Tart – Although the presentation was not extraordinary, the taste of this banana cream tart was amazing. The espresso foam countered the sweetness of the cream filling.

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Bubble Tea Monaka – Open the monaka, and what did we find ? Pearls from Taiwan’s most famous drink – bubble tea along with cubes made from milk tea. I really adored this extremely original interpretation of Taiwan bubble milk tea.   It reminded me of Chef André’s similarly creative spin on Singapore’s kaya toast – which he made into macarons for his petits fours at Restaurant André!

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At the helm of RAW is Chef Alain, a Taiwanese native is in charge of the day to day culinary creations at this wonderful restaurant. It was quite entertaining to watch him and his team on the “pass” creating these beautiful dishes.  Chef’s table seating – which offers the best view of the kitchen and the pass – are available on request.

Mr. King and I felt that as modern as RAW is, its cuisine pays homage to traditional Taiwanese cuisine in a special way. Love it…must go again on our next trip!

More articles you may enjoy:

Innovative & Sublime – ANDRE

More Surprises at Restaurant ANDRE

RAW – No.301, Le Qun 3rd Road, Taipei City, Taiwan   +886 2 8501 5800

http://www.raw.com.tw/

All photos were taken by Mrs. King.

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