Monday, October 22, 2007

CLOSED/italian/spanish: i strongly recommend FORCHETTA

CLOSED a/o 2014

4, Alley 127, AnHo Road., Sec 1
(02) 2707-7776

Lunch 12pm to 2pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm


Kid friendliness: no kids or babies that night. didn't spot any high chairs. sort of a lovely dinner retreat for grownups. get a babysitter and have a romantic evening out, or maybe have an early dinner before the dinner rush.

Visit reviewed: 10/18/2007

First, you have to know that I'm a sucker for a beautifully plated dish. Maybe it's from watching too much Top Chef, maybe it's from eating too many family style Chinese meals, but something about how someone can make a little tower of food look like art that you almost don't want to disturb the contents to eat it. It's almost magical.

Second, I don't like pretty food that doesn't taste good.

But Forchetta doesn't disappoint by giving you pretty and not tasting pretty. It looks pretty AND tastes delicious.

The bites of steak I had left me wanting for more. Maybe it was the smaller portion from our set menu course. Maybe it was the tenderness that made me want to keep chewing and chewing until it dissolved in my mouth. Maybe it was just THAT good. From start to finish, our meal made my mouth water from the minute the waiter put each plate in front of me to the minute I left the restaurant (with the exception of the wee-too spicy for me pasta with chicken).

I have to give credit to our friends who discovered this Italian fusion bistro with a modern romantic setting which opens out to a little patio that you would not expect to find in a little alley in Taipei, but if you've lived and eaten here long enough, you are sort of not surprised. Our friends were the ones who asked the waiter to ask the chef to put together a set menu of the chef's picking (and treated- so sorry for not knowing/noting the prices for each dish). From glancing very quickly at the menu (in both English and Chinese, entrees averaging around NT$800), you could put together the same yourself, but I don't know if the portions we got that night were set menu portions or standard menu portions.

The chef/owner has worked before at VVG (Hao Yang) and Cosi O Cosi and you can sort of see the evolution. If you like the food at either of those places, consider Forchetta a more grown up version. It seemed like the night out for adults as the tables quickly filled up with nicely dressed groups of Chinese and English speakers- I'm not sure how many were walk in and how many were reservations. The other tables also lingered from 7pm past 10pm, still having conversations after we left.

Besides the steak, I really enjoyed the buffalo mozzarella, house made sun dried tomato salad (in the top picture) topped with a bit of lemon foam and a fried won ton skin strip, as well as the sauteed abalone in a bed of foamy mashed potatoes. A lot of things seem to be imported (like the mozz) and the proscuitto which the waiter said comes from a particular part of Europe (I think he said Spain.)

Also, I've never seen this before, but I suppose it's a unique way of combining the flavors of bruschetta without the mess- they took the toasted bread, give you a half tomato to gently rub against each slice and spread some garlic mayo ontop. The result is a do-it yourself mix of flavors and textures that is addictive.

While I don't usually like to eat quail (the small bones and size freaks me a out a little bit), I couldn't help but to try a bite of the perfectly crisped skin and juicy meat.

The meal ended with a rose flavored berry mouse, lemon sorbet and chocolate cake that once again looked almost too pretty to eat. But I did and the refreshing icyness of the sorbet was a good contrast to the richness of the chocolate.

I was going to just blurb a little bit and tease with some pictures because it's 3am in Taipei and I'm really tired and I thought blogging would cure my insomniai, but I ended up writing about the whole meal. I couldn't decide if I should strongly recommend or do a regular recommend with just one visit, but I just couldn't stop thinking about the food and with a long list of other places to blog about, I chose this one, so hopefully if you visit Forchetta, their plates will look and taste just as pretty for you and leave something for you think about even if you have insomnia.


abstractpoet said...

Oh yes. This looks like my kind of restaurant. That steak, in particular, is calling me...

Chubbypanda said...

Taipei has come a really long way since I was last there. Spectacular.

Lisa Wang said...

that steak looks amazing!!! too small though, i would need several orders

joanh said...

abstractpoet: did you guys ever try it?

chubbypanda: yeah- i'm often surprised by the types of restaurants i discover here too!

ffc: as part of a set menu it's okay, but by itself, yes, we're so used to big steaks!

Unknown said...

Will be trying this tonight!! Thanks for the great photos!!

Jennifer @ WanderingSeoul said...

This place looks and sounds fantastic!