Friday, August 28, 2009

western/swedish: i strongly recommend FLAVORS

No. 13, Alley 26, Lane 300, RenAi Rd, Sec. 4
(02) 2709-6525


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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abstractpoet said...

Hooray! My favorite. Did you have a chance to chat with the owners? Nice people.

I was always worried they'd go out of business at their old location (we were often the only people there), but I'm glad to hear that they're doing well at their new digs.

Roger said...

Very nice. That amuse bouche is so epic...

Billy said...

Looks great. Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the post.

Flavor said...

Hi its Ola,
I am so happy for the comments, hope to see you all soon again

joanh said...

abstractpoet: yah, too bad we never got to try it together, but I'm glad I got to eat the apple cake! We didn't really chat, but we said bye at the end!

roger: haha. thanks!

billy: cool! let me know what you think if you do.

flavor: thanks!! hope to bring some more friends next time. :)

Alisa @ A stitch in between said...

Hey, went there today with my husband by your recommendation and absolutely loved it!! The food was amazing, the apple cake UNbelievable!!! And I really liked Ola and Stephanie, such nice friendly people, really added to the atmosphere of the place. Thanks for the tip to go there, it's probably one of our favorites now

Unknown said...

It is pretty good....I have tried it several times....

Anonymous said...

Love your website, but am really frustrated by your pricing differentiation. Since when is $1700/person (as in this review) considered "$$"? Could you perhaps put some kind of a chart up that splits this up into different buckets (i.e.: "$" = $1-400 NTD/person, "$$" = 401-800 NTD/person, etc.?) This would be so much better of a help!

Keep it up! You're like the Zagat guide of Taipei!

joanh said...

alisaz: i'm so glad! thanks for letting me know and i'm glad you found a new favorite!

vincent: thanks for your comment. i do have to go back and try it again soon.

Anonymous: thanks for your feedback. you are totally right- and i've changed it to add the $$$. you can eat a full dinner for around $20, but in our case we tried the special set. i've thought for awhile about doing a chart but haven't gotten around to it. in general to me, $- under $10, $$-10-25/person, $$$-30+ a person. I think I need a $$$$ category for over $50 person.

joanh said...

and sorry, that is in US$. I still think in US$ first. haha

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Daniel Kim said...

I notice the last time you visited flavours was in August 2009. Well I just got back from having dinner there today.
I appreciate your blog and know it's a lot harder to post pictures and review than it is to just post opionions.
Having said that, I think the aim of your blog is to ensure people have somewhat accurate impressions of restaurants.

Restaurants can change alot within 2 years. I enjoyed what I had at flavours but I wouldn't 'strongly reccomend' the restaurant to anyone else.

My friend suggested the appetisers were the forte, so I ordered the swedish meatballs 230 and salmon tartare 300. The meatballs themselves tasted sweet and so did the brown gravy and jam condiment. The meatballs lacked subtlety, it was just like they had turned what is usually a savoury dish into something that tastes close to a dessert.
As for the salmon tartare, it was basically salmon tartare rolled up into a bready pastry. The tartare was flavoured with 3 different sauces. To be fair this dish was satisfactory, but it wasn't above what I expected.

I tried some of the Veal chops my friend was having and the texture of the meat was okay and it was not overdone. Most of my friends who went there ordered either the lamb chops or veal chops. The lamb or veal chops are the mains in a set menu you can order. The lamb and veal chop sets were 1300-1400. You get cauliflower soup, can choose any appetiser, get a main, and get the apple pie dessert.

I tried my friend's cauliflower soup and it was good. And the apple pie dessert which, I also ordered, was good.

Flavours is a decent restaurant. But I just don't think anyone should be expecting anything spectacular if you order something typical like veal chops or lamb chops. I think the 'wow factor' depends on what you order.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the experience overall, because my it was my friend's birthday dinner. I just wouldn't 'strongly recommend' like you did hungry girl. I'd perhaps 'recommend' the place.

joanh said...

daniel: hey daniel! thanks for taking the time to comment and share your experience. i definitely agree that many of the dishes, especially the meatballs, have sauces on the sweet side, but some people, like me might enjoy it as prepared. I've been back a few times since then and still enjoy the food and actually would still strongly recommend it (for its uniqueness in Taipei, and the dishes that I like) and am actually going to post a new review doing so. But there will definitely be readers who have tastebuds/opinions similiar to yours, so I appreciate you leaving your POV for people to factor in other's opinions if they are reading about the restaurant.

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Yi said...

I actually just came back from a nice dinner at Flavors and have to say, it's probably one of the better Western meals I've had in Taipei.

I had the set dinner menu and chose the veal with truffles. Previous restaurants I've been to in Taipei have always used truffle oil when it came to truffle dishes. However, Flavors uses real truffle shavings so the meal was much more fragrant and flavorsome. The veal was cooked perfectly - medium rare. The meat was tender and melted in your mouth.

I'm a bit of sweet tooth so I enjoyed the fusion of sweet and salty flavors. The pumpkin soup with orange rind was surprisingly tasty. I enjoyed the Swedish meatballs with gravy and lingonberry jam. The meatballs were maybe a bit too smooth in texture for my liking, but still tasted great.

The apple crumble dessert is also delicious. It's quite different from the photo as they now serve it in a glass goblet-like cup with extra serving of cream. I liked the contrasting texture and it was just the right amount of sweetness too.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Flavors for a special occasion or date (simply because the price is considerably more expensive compared to an 'average' meal that would cost five times less). However, $1500 NT for a five-course meal is still very affordable, especially for quality Western food. The atmosphere is relaxed and cozy and the owner/chef Ola is really friendly to chat to.

Anonymous said...

I visited flavors a few years ago with, in that time, my boyfriend Jeremy and we loved it! everything about that restaurant made me smile, since the first warm welcoming to the opportunity to meet the chef and his lovely wife. We visited them a few weeks ago and Im very happy to see they keep their customer service on point and the food, no need to say more. Jeremy and I are married now and we commented its very inspiring to see Flavors is still running as well as a few years ago. the food experience, EPIC! Like no other in Taiwan :D congrats for the good job to Flavors team!

Carmina said...

I visited Flavors a few years ago with, at that time, my boyfriend, Jeremy. We loved everything about that restaurant, from the warm welcoming to the opportunity to meet the creator of such an amazing food.
Jeremy and I visited them a few weeks ago, just before Christmas and we are very pleased to see the restaurant is running as well as a few years ago. My husband commented me it is very inspiring to see a family business running on point. Congratulations to Flavors Team for such and amazing job. the food, EPIC, like no other in Taiwan as well as the customer service. Keep up the good work! STRONGLY RECOMMENDED, you wont regret it!

Anonymous said...

I really liked this restaurant.
I have been to Sweden several times and havent had that nice Swedish food.

For an Asian it might be hard to know what swedish meatballs should taste like but this is it.
Same with lambchops, this is the taste we have come to expect outside of the Anglican world.

Flacors surprised me I didnt expect it to be that good in regards to the food. Real professional.

What I didnt like was the atmosphere. I expected warmth and familiarity and were met with a waiter that to me was rather cold and not knowledgable about the food. My table doesnt know what Lingonberry is, doesnt know if they should mix with the cream sauce etc. Some small words would solve such things.

Anonymous said...

I ate here the other night and was a bit disappointed in terms of value for money. I had the duck breast set for 1300 NT - the duck was excellent, but the soup was very mediocre and the glass of house red wine I ordered was terrible. My father decided to just have two appetizers - the herring, and the meatballs and he was very disappointed with the herring as it was all potato and no herring. The meatballs were tasty but tiny. I feel now this restaurant is very overpriced, as it seems the set used to include an appetizer and now those are all extra, and in my mind not worth it. Be careful what you order. Our amuse bouche was also rather bland , a bit of potato and mayonnaise. Hardly gourmet.

@eelstork said...

Just a note. I can't vouch for every branch they own but overall, IKEA do serve Swedish food. Maybe not the best, but Swedish nonetheless : )

@eelstork said...

Just a note. I can't vouch for every branch they own but overall, IKEA do serve Swedish food. Maybe not the best, but Swedish nonetheless : )