James Kitchen 大隱酒食
Address: 65 Yongkang Street, Da’an District, Taipei / 台北市大安區永康街65號
Tel: (02) 2343 2275
Hours: 11:00am~2:00pm, 5:30pm~12:00am
Price: 300~400 NTD/person
Visited on: 2012-01-28
In times like these, nothing feels quite so comforting as a little piece of the past. That’s the charm of restaurants like James Kitchen 大隱酒食 (Da Yin Jiu Shi). Despite the fact that it opened only 4 years ago, the restaurant looks as if it’s been there forever. The refurbished interior and down-to-earth service foster this illusion, as does the familiar, unthreatening menu with its nostalgic lineup of 扁魚白菜滷 braised cabbage with flat fish, 菜脯蛋 fried eggs with dried turnips, 炸蚵酥 fried oysters, and 蔥香豬油飯 scallion lard rice.
大隱酒食 James Kitchen
The restaurant is small, so book ahead. They do have a second location on the same street in case the space fills up. Scroll to the bottom of this post for the address and phone number.
Drawing on the wall
Here’s the menu, also available in pictures with English captions.
We were first presented with an array of appetizers, from which we picked three that we fancied: soy sauce-glazed eggplants, braised bean curd, and salted edamame beans. A delightful start.
The hot dishes arrived in no time. I loved 素燒香菇腐皮卷 (150 NTD), silky smooth bean curd wrapping slippery enoki mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms.
素燒香菇腐皮卷 Bean Curd Mushroom Roll, 150 NTD
素燒香菇腐皮卷 Bean Curd Mushroom Roll
清燉蟹肉獅子頭 (295 NTD), a popular dish at James Kitchen, is meat balls made with crab meat and pork, braised with cabbages. It’s very light, a little too bland for me.
清燉蟹肉獅子頭 Crab Meat Lion Head, 295 NTD
清燉蟹肉獅子頭 Crab Meat Lion Head
炒青菜 (95 NTD), a plate of stir-fried morning glory with garlic and chili.
炒青菜 Stir-Fried Vegetable, 95 NTD
午魚一夜干 (195 NTD), threadfin that has been marinated, air-dried over night, then grilled to a satisfying shining brown.
午魚一夜干 Grilled Threadfin, 195 NTD
午魚一夜干 Grilled Threadfin
A must order at James Kitchen is its 蔥香豬油飯 (20 NTD), white rice with scallions, lard, and soy sauce. This is actually a dish from back in the days when people didn’t have much to eat, and it’s making a strong comeback. One mouthful, and you’ll understand why this simple but fragrant rice remains popular to this date.
蔥香豬油飯 Scallion Pork Fat Rice, 20 NTD
蔥香豬油飯 Scallion Pork Fat Rice
I stole a bite of my friend’s 干貝肉燥飯 (35 NTD), rice topped with conpoy and minced meat. Quite nice, but I much preferred my bowl of rice.
干貝肉燥飯 Conpoy Minced Meat Rice, 35 NTD
For those currently in need of reassurance, book yourself a table at James Kitchen and feast on its hearty Taiwanese fare. You will leave happy.
大隱酒食 Da Yin Jiu Shi
2nd location 小隱私廚 (Xiao Yin Si Chu): 42-5 Yongkang Street, Taipei / 台北市大安區永康街42-5號 / (02) 2343 5355