September 29, 2009

Mon restaurant préféré à Taipei

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I'm back at Paris 1930, my favorite French restaurant in Taipei, for another birthday celebration.  This time we were taking out my uncle, as we all missed his 70th birthday earlier in the month.  Coincidentally today was also Dad's birthday, although traditionally we celebrate his birthday according to the lunar and not the Gregorian calendar.

I started with the amuse bouche of deep-fried croquette made with fish and potato.  Not bad.

I finally used up the last jar of beluga caviar which I bought at Almaty Airport last year.  I brought it in yesterday, and the chef prepared 8 different types of traditional condiments for us. It added something special to the evening.

King prawn, avocado and mango mosaique, chilled tomato consommé, sesame crisp - this may seem like a pretty standard dish, and the execution is certainly solid.  But the consommé makes things interesting as it tasted of green tomatoes with a hint of the prawns and some paprika.  Nice and refreshing.

Parsley crusted frog leg, parmesan risotto and chicken jus - the frog legs were decent and a little springy in texture, and I liked the parsley crust.  The risotto has some white truffle oil so it was pretty fragrant, but the strong flavors of parmesan dominated.  The parmesan "chips" on top were pretty yummy.

"Provençale" cod fish, with coco bean, red pepper, garlic and pesto - I love cod and this was done pretty well.  Nicely pan-fried and crispy on the outside while staying soft and moist inside thanks to the thick cut.  There is a small tempura piece of anchovy on top.  The whole thing sat on a bed of "salsa" with beans, red peppers, chorizo and mushrooms. The pesto sauce provided complementary flavors.

Tapenade stuffed organic grouse, eggplant square and chips, lemon confit sauce - the grouse wasn't as gamey as I expected, but was still very tasty.  Interesting to have tapenade stuffed inside...I've only had black olive tapenade as a spread before. The leg was rolled up into a tube after stuffing, which looks kinda cute.  I preferred the eggplant without the creamy stuffing of the square.

Roasted lamb loin and sweet bread roll, socca, carrot pureed and light cumin jus - I loved this lamb.  It wasn't shy and delivered the full flavors with the fat.  Worked perfectly with the cumin-flavored jus.  The carrot mash was very sweet and I almost mistook it for sweet potato mash... The "sweet bread" roll was disappointing.  I couldn't taste anything that remotely reminded me of sweetbread... just some blended chicken paste with a few chunks stuffed inside.  Oh well...

Desserts here have often been hit-or-miss.  Tonight it was an opéra cake which did not impress.  But the shot glass of vanilla ice cream with coffee cream was yummy enough.

Dad brought a bottle of 1998 Opus One.  A very nice wine with nose of sweet fruit, mint, vanilla, coffee and a bit of smoke.  Opus has always been a solid wine, and while it may not always "wow" me, so far I've never been disappointed by it.

So I spent another nice evening at Paris 1930... what brings us back year after year is the service as well as the very solid cuisine, and once again Jack took very good care of us.  Sure there are always hot, new restaurants opening up, but I've struggled to find one that will consistently beat this place in terms of food and service.  The only drawback I see is the ambience, as the diners today prefer a more casual and lively atmosphere instead of a somber and classically elegant dining room with staff in tuxedos.

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