Yen: Stylish Chinese Restaurant at W Taipei

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Restaurant Taipei

The East Area of Taipei is home to the city’s finest fashion, clubs and shopping, including the stately Bellavita department store. The neighborhood also contains the W Taipei, which opened in 2011 with an aesthetic that hotel reps describe as “nature electrified,” complete with interactive LED lights and chandeliers crafted from old sheet music stands. a futuristic elevator with an “infinity” roof delivered us to the 31st floor and Yen, a Cantonese-influenced Taiwanese restaurant with an exhibition kitchen and the property’s best views of the city.

Robot Taipei
We walked past a glass-fronted kitchen with decorative stacks of bamboo steamers, a sprawling dining room with rounded booths shrouded by drop-down black ropes, and the Bar at Yen, a space with purple lounge chairs and hologram eyes over the bar that will wink as you pass. We eventually skated by cutlery robots to reach a private room, which contained noodle shaped chandeliers, sun-shaped polished steel wall mounts and red carpet.

Chef Taipei
Chef Khai Meng “C.K.” Kong presided over our elaborate luncheon.

Cocktail Taipei
Bar at Yen sells Chinese tea infused cocktails like the Oolong Fizz (N$ 380 ~ $13), an aromatic, oolong-infused gin cocktail with fresh lemon juice, sugar cane, soda and tea buds.

Taiwanese Food Taipei
Our first round of appetizers consisted of edamame; tender tripe with shaved scallions; and firm braised tofu chunks with soy, carrots, scallions and mushrooms.

Taiwanese Food Taipei
Chilled bitter gourd, sweet and crunchy, joined longan honey; tiny fried sakura shrimp and crab paste (roe) graced silken tofu; and squid stuffed crisp cucumber.

Taiwanese Food Taipei
Chicken consommé featured juicy chicken, jujubes, which are supposedly good for the eyes, and burdock root, good for men’s kidneys.

Taiwanese Food Taipei
Braised cherry duck leg came in a rust-colored, medicinal sauce with broccoli, crunchy, fibrous bamboo root, and young bamboo, textured like artichoke leaves. Bamboo farmers hunt for sprouts at 3 or 4 a.m., since once sun hits the shoots, their “meat” becomes bitter.

Taiwanese Food Taipei
Semi-baked cod joined tender shimeji mushrooms, delicate strands of palm flower, crunchy hearts of palm and umami rich mustard goma dressing.

Taiwanese Food Taipei
Sweet organic blue prawns topped rice cracklings, scallion, tomato and tobiko.

Fruit Taipei
A fruit plate featured watermelon, pineapple, dragonfruit, cantaloupe and blueberries.

Taiwanese Food Taipei
A bowl of sweet lemongrass crystal jelly hosted slippery aloe vera and lime sorbet.

Taiwanese Food Taipei
Beautiful chamomile and wolfberry (gojiberry) jelly appeared on aromatic shiso leaf.

Yen is located in a trendy hotel, so it seems natural that the chef took aesthetics into consideration, but what took me by surprise was how good the food tasted.

Note: My visit to Yen was part of a government sponsored tour to promote Food Culture in Taiwan.

Address: 10 Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 5 Xinyi District, Taipei City 100, Taiwa

Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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