Thursday, December 07, 2006

japanese: i strongly recommend MOUNTAIN FLOWER

No. 1 on 146 Alley, Dun Hua S. Rd, Sec 2
(02) 2708-3080

lunch: 12 PM- 2:30 PM
dinner: 6 PM - 10 PM

$$$- $$$$

kid friendly?: no high chairs, though can accomodate stroller especially if you call ahead. can be quiet atmosphere though so may not want to bring rowdy loud ones

visit reviewed: 11/17/2006

I'm no means a sashimi or sushi expert. After all, I used to only eat California Rolls and Inari Rolls and Tabiko nigiri until maybe five years ago when I was introduced to world of super fresh and delicious sashimi. So even now, when I eat sashimi, I couldn't necessarily tell you everything that I am eating- yellowtail, Hamachi, salmon- I would need one of those plastic diagrams that come on the table. I know what tuna, uni, unagi, and sweet shrimp are, but at a place where the chef's set menu (about NT$2000) just comes to you, you have to just go with the flow.

Mountain Flower is a cozy, small-ish rectangular room of a restaurant with a sushi bar- we heard of it from a friend who works with organic foods and raved about their vegetarian set menu. It's definitely a place to treat yourself, or use the company credit card, since their set menu will set you back NT$2000 or US$60, but it will be worth every penny. It's simple, delicious flavors and you'll leave full from the food and the experience, but not stuffed. We were lucky to get a reservation a day or so earlier, since the space can only seat so many people. WIth the darker walls and ambience, it was very modern and sleek and the restaurant was bustling with businessmen, couples and people enjoying their food.

So I will do my best to describe everything we had from that night- but honestly, I'm not sure what everything was- but it all tasted awesome- so if you are a sashimi expert, you can let the pictures do the talking.

We sat at the sushi bar, so when the chef was ready, he's dish out the new plate. Before we start eating, they ask if there is anything that we do NOT eat. For the appetizer, we dipped the paper thin slice into a sauce. Later the chef would specifically suggest when not to dip something in a sauce.

sashimi appetizer

The sashimi was so fresh. I think the white slices on the right were squid- they were a bit rubbery unlike the meaty texture of the fish. In general, I prefer the taste and texture of tuna and I think what was yellowtail?

sashimi plate

I ate a couple of the scallops before I took this picture. It was soft and chewy and I like scallops in general, so I really enjoyed this. I don't like ikura, so I gave this to my friend.

scallop and ikura

This to me was heaven because I really miss eating spicy tuna from the states- it's hard to find here and this was an elegant twist on one of my favorites. I almost wanted to ask the chef for more than the two bites that we got.

spicy tuna

And the food kept coming while we were eating and talking. This set was probably one of my favorites- the slightly seared toro melted in your mouth and though not everyone likes uni, I have grown to love it, and it was very fresh and creamy.

toro and uni

The thing about sashimi and sushi is that it should never smell or taste fishy. If it does, don't eat it! Next came a grilled miso fish, which was just the right size and flavorful due to the marinade.

miso fish

I wasn't sure what this was and my friend called it "the essence of fish" to which I was like, what does that mean? Brain? Sex organs? Stomach? After some googling, It reminded me in taste and appearance of cow brain, in the soft creaminess, but it would be the most beautifully presented fish milt I've ever seen.

fish milt

Here are some dishes from the vegetarian set menu- I don't think I took a picture of everything, but it's a sample in case you ever want to try it.

fried shitake mushrooms


vegetarian yams and mushrooms

vegetarian rolls

Then capping the meal with a slice of fresh pineapple and red bean dessert and green hot tea.

If you've ever wanted to go somewhere and let the chef hand pick your food, then you must try MOUNTAIN FLOWER. The simple elegant sign outside reflects the "japonaise" style and attitude inside- they make it look easy and the fresh while
appetizing flavors stay with on your mind. As with most set menus, the dishes will changes as the seasons change, but at least you can be assured that whatever you are eating will also be the freshest.


ZZ said...

Oh.. What a a luxurious dinner! Even when I was in Japan, I only have a sushi with rotating table (kaiten-sushi). So would be happy if you didn't pay by yourself..

joanh said...

hi ztaro!

thanks for the comment! yes, very luxurious... have you found any good cheap japanese eats in taipei??

Jean said...

good thing we didn't go there.. i would have been giving you everything... although i looks pretty good!

Chubbypanda said...

Beautiful food and presentation. I'm intrigued by the concept of vegetarian omakase. I think I may try to talk the chef at my favorite sushi place into creating one.

- Chubbypanda

ZZ said...

Hi joanh, most Japanese foods I found are far from original Japanese taste. I would like to mention about that in my blog!

Battlepanda said...

Thanks...I ate with my eyes since the actual food is somewhat out of my pricerange right now...

joanh said...

jean: yeah it's not for everyone especially people who don't love sashimi.

chubbypanda: you totally should.. i bet it would create a bigger following for his restaurant.

ztaro: yeah, i find the same to be true about mexican, indian, italian and other foods found here.. what can you do, we are in the minority in tastebuds!

battlepanda: thanks for visiting and the comment!! i guess that's what food blogs are all about- eating with our eyes the things we can't eat otherwise.