March 1, 2012

Paddle service

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I was invited to join the Chairman and friends for dinner on short notice, and in fact haven't seen most of the group since our dinner together last September.  Venue was 久食 Robata Yaki, which is apparently pretty new.  I hadn't found a place for robatayaki (炉端焼) in Taipei yet, so this was a good opportunity to scout out such a place.

We had a big group of almost 20 people, and took up the entire counter section around the grill.  As one would expect, all of the freshest ingredients were displayed right in front of us.  I guess someone had taken care of the ordering for us, or perhaps the chef had decided to just send us whatever he felt like… omakase (お任せ).

We started with some tsunomame (角まめ), served with some sesame dressing.  Nice and crunchy, and very refreshing.

…and some salad to start…

Next came a nigiri sushi (握り寿司) of sorts… with some delicious sea urchin (雲丹) on top of some rice, sitting on a leaf of romaine lettuce, with a very generous "sprinkle" of salmon roe (イクラ).  Interesting creation, and very fresh and delicious.

Gingko nuts (銀杏) - actually more bitter than I had expected… not great in terms of taste but I guess it's good for me…

Flame-seared salmon sushi (炙り鮭寿司) - the salmon was really delicious… seared on the surface to impart that smoky, slightly singed flavor, but the texture was so soft it melted in my mouth.

Chinese yam (山芋)

Pork collar (豬頸肉) - what's not to love about juicy, succulent pork?!  Very close to Cantonese char siu (叉燒) in terms of flavor, since this was rather sweet.  Yum.

Baby corn - never had these with the husks… kind of a novelty.  Pretty nice since they are fresh, but not fantastically better than what I'd normally buy in the supermarkets…

Sweet potato - this is the beniaka (紅赤/金時) variety.  Not bad at all…

Tiger prawn (車エビ) - this was soooooo good…  The flesh tasted sweet, and the flavors of the ocean also showed prominently.  Couldn't have asked for a better prawn.

Fried fish cake (さつま揚げ) - pretty good… especially with some shichimi (七味唐辛子) powder.

Salmon rice ball (焼きおにぎり) - this was very, very good.  Bits of salmon flakes and spices mixed in evenly throughout, providing enough flavor without being overpowering.  Of course, I chose to overwhelm my taste buds by sprinkling plenty of shichimi (七味唐辛子) on top...

Miso soup with clams - for some reason the flavors of the clams didn't stand out, but the sweetness from the white miso (味噌) definitely registered...

Chicken skewers (焼き鳥) - not bad.  Additional order when some people felt more food was needed.

The guava was OK, but the strawberries were nice and ripe.

2007 Mollydooker Carnival of Love - the friend who brought this bottle religiously performed the Mollydooker Shake... a few times!  Typically sweet nose with lots of vanilla, oak, cedar and mint.  Definitely very forward and "easy" to drink if you like this sort of thing.

2004 Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon - smooth on the palate, with typical Cab flavor profile, but surprisingly not very fruity...

2003 Veranda Pinot Noir Founder's Reserv - fruity nose of strawberries, a little farmy and minty.  Not bad...

Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 23% (獺祭「純米大吟醸」磨き二割三分) - one of my favorite sakes because it's such value for money...  Tropical nose of pineapple, banana, honeydew melon and of course sweet fermented rice (酒釀).

This was a pretty good meal, although not exactly cheap by Taipei standards, looking at the food we were served...  I think I'll come back and try out more of the fresh seafood.  Many thanks to the birthday boys for the treat!

1 comment:

Michelle Chin said...

Sake that smells like rock melon. Interesting. :D


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