La Brasserie, The Landis Taipei, Taiwan
Resembling a cozy French style bistro, La Brasserie is The Landis Taipei’s all day dining outlet. Local specialties, international dishes and a hearty breakfast spread ensure there is something for every taste bud at any time of day.
It’s filled with rich wooden furniture and chocolate leather lounges, warmly lit by frosted glass lampshades. Black and white tiles mosaic the floor and, speakers croon jolly movie soundtracks. Gold trimmings, mirrors and lots of glass contribute to the classy but snug ambience. It’s an ideal spot for a chilly winter day.
Wait staff in French maid’s uniforms, add a quirky burst of character to the French bistro scene, and bring warm bread rolls and butter. A spread of minced pork mixed with cloves makes an exciting beginning.
|Warm Bread Rolls and Minced Pork Spread|
Hubby can’t resist ordering a local lager. Taiwan Beer is pale gold in colour with a touch of sweetness in its finish. It’s refreshing and light, a congenial start.
Rolf Binder Highness 2012 Eden Valley Riesling is my choice of white wine and it’s on promotion for NT$900 per bottle. A faint scent of spring blossoms tickles the nose and winter citrus fills the palate. A crisp conclusion with a hint of pear at the end makes it a perfect match for the tuna salad that comes next.
|Rolf Binder Highness 2012 Eden Valley Riesling|
We start with a French classic, Salad Nicoise (NT$320). A generous plate of tuna, olives, onion, tomato, green beans, egg, anchovies and garden leaves are tossed with a light French dressing. It’s fresh and would make a filling meal by itself, or a great starter shared amongst friends. The thought crosses my mind that if my office were nearby, this would be a regular lunch order.
Soups are next. French Onion Soup (NT$28) bubbles in a black cast iron pot. Bread, with grated cheese and herbs, floats on the top. It’s packed with onion slices and has a sweet finale.
|French Onion Soup|
Classic Beef Tea Consomme (NT$) has wowed local media so we can’t wait to sample it for ourselves. Herbs and spices are slow cooked with a beef bone reducing the broth to an intensely rich brew. Just the clear broth remains showcasing the full flavour, minus the texture, of the seasoning ingredients. It’s in a glass jar and served through a tea strainer into a ceramic cup, just as you would pour a cup of tea. The soup fills the mouth with its full body. Sipped from the petite teacup, you’re forced to appreciate the intricacies of the soup. The unique presentation wins hubby over and continues to be the source of amusement throughout the consumption of the soups and well into the rest of the evening.
|Classic Beef Tea Consomme|
I switch to the Rolf Binder Hales 2010 Barossa Valley Shiraz from Australia in preparation for the meaty main. Berries tickle the nose and, oak with hint of licorice fills the mouth. It climaxes with a classic peppery bite.
|Rolf Binder Hales 2010 Barossa Valley Shiraz|
USDA Beef T-Bone Steak “20 oz” (NT$1280) with a peppercorn sauce arrives on a dark grey slate. It reeks of garlic and is completely covered with fried slices of this pungent, but delicious bulb. A kaleidoscope of vegetables hides underneath the slabs of meat. Hubby questions where is the steak knife and soon finds out that it’s not needed, a fish knife would do the meat is so tender. One side is strip loin and the other tenderloin. They’re both pink in the middle with the strip loin being my preference. I like steak that I can chew a few times before swallowing. Hubby prefers the melty texture of the tenderloin, so we’re both happy. The only question is… who gets to gnaw the bone?
|USDA Beef T-Bone Steak “20 oz”|
A wooden chopping board delivers Baked Salmon in Puff Pastry with Dill and Lemon Butter Sauce (NT$1000). The fish is juicy yet the puff pastry flaky and dry. This is a scientific accomplishment to maintain two distinct moisture levels without affecting the quality of the filling or the casing. I soon learn the chef’s secret. A thin crepe provides a border between the two keeping the fish moist and the wrapping light and buttery. A layer of spinach lines the base and chopped red capsicum crosses the head making the inside a picture of good health. Crisp, barely cooked vegetables make a nutritious side and, the dill and lemon butter sauce has just enough tang to make a pleasant contrast to the buttery main attraction. This is hubby’s favourite. A king-sized portion makes this dish easily shared.
|Baked Salmon in Puff Pastry with Dill and Lemon Butter Sauce|
It’s time for dessert and Souffle (NT$420) must be eaten at any French restaurant worth its name. It’s a standard for measurement – can the restaurant get the soufflé from the kitchen to the table without it deflating yet still maintain that sensuously fluffy texture? La Brasserie has perfected the recipe and a billowing top arrives on our table. It’s alluring and seductive. The puffy top, sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar, balloons over the edge of its supporting pot. It could collapse at any moment, but resists and lasts the duration of my photo session. Grand Marnier and vanilla sauce finally flattens the dome and we dig in. Hubby’s spoon is faster than mine (and his mouth bigger too) so I have to work swiftly to get a taste. Hubby declares it, “superb!” No more words needed.
The signature dessert is the Coffee Fondant and Chocolate Cake (NT$400). It’s artistically presented on a white plate. Parallel lines of caramel cross the base, a row of strawberry hearts stand as a fence at the forefront behind which the tower of dark sponge stands. We break it with a spoon and a flood of brown liquid runs from the core. As it does, coffee wafts to the nose and, I can’t wait to take my first spoonful. It’s mild, milk chocolate, a hit with local ladies. We can see why.
|Coffee Fondant and Chocolate Cake|
We still have wine in our glasses so we linger a little longer, making merry in the charming French themed, La Brasserie.
Reasons to visit: Salad Nicoise; Classic Beef Tea Consomme; Baked Salmon in Puff Pastry with Dill and Lemon Butter Sauce: Souffle; generous good value portions, cozy French bistro ambience, excellent service
The Landis Taipei
41, Se.2, Min-Chuan East Road
+886 2 2597 1234
+886 2 2598 3455
Open 6am – 11pm
Average expense: NT$600 – 1000 per person
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