Thursday, January 19, 2017

MUME (Taipei, TAIWAN) ★★★★☆

After bringing mom back to the hotel and then tucking my nugget to bed, I decided to sneak out for my second dinner of the evening. Luckily, MUME which happened to be my dinner destination, was just a 7-8 minute walk from the hotel so that made things a little easier for me.

MUME burst into Taipei's dining scene in late 2014, ironically together with RAW (just 2 weeks apart), another highly anticipated opening in the city. Both restaurants took the city which has been starving for high-caliber fine dining restaurants by storm and many believe they will eventually spearhead a major shift in the dining landscape of Taipei in many years to come.

Here, the kitchen is led by head chef and co-founder Ritchie Lin who has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the world including Noma, Quay, Per Se and Eleven Madison Park. Chef Lin, who's Indonesian, was born in Hong Kong but raised in Toronto Canada. He later went onto Sydney and Copenhagen to hone his skills and that's where he crossed path with Australian chef Kai Ward and some of the other chefs on MUME's current team. At MUME, he aims to bring modern European cuisine and casual fine dining together while using some of the best local ingredients available in the market. Sounds like a brilliant plan to me.

I love the industrial chic décor here matching the casual dining theme perfectly. 

They are no longer serving their set menus and instead just the a la carte menu for now, although there's still a minimum charge of NT1,500 per head, which is easily reached by ordering a starter and main.

Another thing apart from the décor that amazes me was the food menu - a single-A4-page menu with 5 snacks, 6 starters and 4 main dishes. Now, that's what I call short and sharp.

Wagyu tartare (BT480) - MUME's signature dish. Just by looking at the presentation, I knew something good was going to happen (to my palate).

This was not your typical wagyu tartare. Not even close. On top of the finely diced wagyu, there's a layer of crunchy lotus root and preserved daikon for a slightly different bite. Then, they laid the finishing touch on with some simple garnish of leaves, clam mayo (white dots) and confit egg yolk (yellow dots). I really enjoyed the contrasting textures and flavors in there. Not ever has a wagyu tartare impressed me so much before so this one was clearly a winner.

Kampachi crudo (NT420) - I have seen a different version of this on Instagram before with calamansi vinaigrette and cucumber that looked rather impressive. As a result, hopes were a bit high on this one but I have to say, I was a little disappointed with the results.

This particular version of kampachi crudo was matched with sorrel, preserved green mango and green apple. They wrapped the sorrel and green mango with the kampachi before planting slices of green apple on top to make it look really charming. Last but not least, they poured in the chilled rose geranium oil. This was decent but I didn't like the wrapping of sorrel and mango in the middle and I thought the dish could use a bit more acidity in the mix.

Beef tongue (NT520) - Our last starter before moving onto our main courses. The beef tongue was roasted to perfection and it was just wonderfully tender and juicy. This was nicely complemented by an oyster emulsion, crackers, brussel sprouts, grilled pineapple and shaved pistachio. Not as good as the wagyu tartare but definitely not bad.

BBQ pork ribs (NT980) - Another signature dish which came highly recommended by our server. This was a beautifully prepared dish with the pork ribs grilled to golden brown color thanks to the plum and miso glaze. It was by no means, the best or most innovative piece of pork rib I have ever had as I have probably had plum and miso with ribs more than a few times before, but it was pretty darn good. Especially the fatty part near the bone area. Absolutely delish (and very flavorful).

Crispy amadai (NT1080) - For any chef Vicky fans like me who have been consistently spoiled by his exquisite cooking throughout the years (VEA Dining or Liberty Private Works), we should be no stranger to crispy amadai. The key of this dish however was the aromatic broth which was made with parsley and lemon thyme.

That was very nice. Definitely ranked right up there with the one from VEA.

I was still feeling the effects from my earlier dinner at Din Tai Fung two hours ago so as much as I wanted to try dessert (Chef Lin started out as a pastry chef first so I was pretty tempted.), I had to decline. But I have to admit, this has been a very impressive showing by the kitchen here, which is giving me every reason to come back to Taipei very soon.

Food Rating: 7.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: No. 28, Siwei Road, Da'an District, Taipei, Taiwan
Closest Metro Station: Daan / Xinyi Anhe
Tel: +886 2-2700-0901
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 43rd (2017)

Post a Comment

Please tell us what you think