I met up with a friend from Hong Kong tonight. He was here on business, and we caught up over dinner and some wine. I wanted to continue exploring Japanese restaurants in town, so I suggested that we try out Toutouan (燈燈庵). The main restaurant in Japan was never on my radar, but I learned about the opening of the Taipei branch from a fellow food blog, and it's always good to find a decent kaiseki (会席料理) restaurant.
We decided to take the Toutouan set (燈燈庵 会席). We're still being served the March menu, but the final course was substituted for the item that will be in the April menu.
b>Mugwort tofu (先付 惜里豆腐) - I don't remember having mugwort (艾草) before, but I guess I could taste the herb in the tofu. Served with some yuzu (柚子) sauce along with a prawn and some slices of bamboo.
I thought dinner tonight was reasonably good. There wasn't anything that I felt was below average, and a few of the dishes were very enjoyable. The only problem I had was that a few of the dishes - notably the grilled fish and the main course - made for a very smoky dining experience. This may not bother the average diner, but for the two of us intent on enjoying our wines, our olfactory senses were temporarily overloaded. With the grilled fish, we not only were smelling the smoke while we were being served the dish, we also got a whiff of it each time the dish was being served to other tables around us. That wasn't so good.
I'd be interested in revisiting this place in a few months, and see what seasonal ingredients the chef will be putting on the menu.