Friday, August 28, 2009
western/swedish: i strongly recommend FLAVORS
No. 13, Alley 26, Lane 300, RenAi Rd, Sec. 4
hours: lunch- reservations must be made in advance; dinner-
Kid friendliness: no kids allowed.
Visit reviewed: 5/1/2009
Ever since Flavors Swedish Restaurant won for "Best Unexpected Find in Taipei" in my reader's poll last year, I moved it up on my to-do list to visit. After all, who would expect to find Swedish food in Taipei?
First things first, dessert! If you decide to go, you MUST remember to order the apple cake. It's moist, crumbly, sweet, flaky- just SO good. The picture doesn't do it justice and I would go back to Flavors for the dessert alone. It's more like an apple pie than what I pictured as an apple cake, but either way it was my favorite dish of the night.
I've never had Swedish food before (and I don't think Ikea counts). Flavors does have the Swedish meatballs (in a much more home cooked and delicious way), but they also have a full menu with changing appetizers, sous vide meats and seafood main dishes and drinks that reflect the simple, but hearty cuisine.
The English and Chinese menu is pretty huge and can be a bit overwhelming. If you choose a main dish, it comes as a set with the soup of the day, bread, salad, apple cake and coffee. There are also a few multi-course set menus to choose from- "Taste of Sweden" (NT$1700) with aquavit (a flavored spirit) and snapas (small shots of snaps), or Chef Ola's "Summer Gourmet Menu" which included 3 appetizers and 2 desserts (NT$1100).
We ended up wanting to try as much as we could, so we got the Taste of Sweden (though in retrospect, I would have gotten the regular meatball set since I am not a big alcohol drinker and it would be a price difference of NT$900 or so).
The atmosphere is romantic and intimate, with an elegant bistro like quality. They have a no kids policy so that adds to the "romantic dinner out" atmosphere that you can take a date. It's run by a couple who love food so the service is personable although the waiter spoke on the soft side so I didn't get everything he was saying.
The starters include the homemade bread which come with an olive tapenade and garlic spread. The bread is doughy and I like the rustic feel of the plating.
The lighting was dim with candles, so my camera was having trouble focusing on some pictures. So sorry in advance! The soup of the day was an orange and pumpkin soup had a nice savory and sweet touch.
The amuse bouche was swedish caviar on what seemed like a cream cheese mousse and bread. And it came with the frosted flavors aquavit. I'm not crazy about creamy mousses, but I do like caviar!
Next was your choice of appetizer- I got the grilled rosemary scallops which again were beautifully presented. They were juicy and wrapped in bacon- who would complain? I probably could have eaten more than three.
The 3 x snapas had three different shots with bite sized treats on cool looking forks. Smoked salmon and proscuitto. Imagine serving something like this at your next dinner party.
As each dish came, I was looking more and more forward to the main dish. And I wasn't disappointed. The meatballs and new potato with brown sauce and lingonberry jam was awesome. I think I heard the waiter say that the lingonberry jam is brought in by Chef Ola from Sweden.
The potatoes were roasted until the skin was crispy and the meatballs were plentiful and browned so they had a crispy and tender combination of textures. I was unsure to dip the meatballs in both of the sauces or in only one, but you end up mixing it all together, sort of like Thanksgiving gravy and cranberry sauce (although I never liked cranberry sauce before) and everything is on the sweet side. I would have loved more potatoes or vegetables.
My date got the sous vide venison which I wasn't crazy about. I stuck to my meatballs.
And then the 3 x dessert which included tiramisu and although our favorite by far was the apple cake. Next time, I'm going to just get a huge apple cake.
Flavors is open for weekday lunch by reservations only, but also offers brunch on the weekends. Flavors won"Best Unexpected Find in Taipei" on my blog's reader's choice poll.. and I have to agree. I don't know if I ever would have tried Swedish food in the states, but I'm glad it's available here.
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