Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Taipei] Mountain & Sea House 山海樓

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Mountain & Sea House 山海樓

Add: No. 16, Lane 11, Section 2, Zhong Shan North Road, Taipei / 台北市中山北路二段11巷16號
Tel: (02) 2581 5760
Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm
Price: 1,500~2,000 NTD/person
Visited: Feb 2015

Please note that this is an invited tasting.

One of my favorite meals on this trip in Taipei was lunch at the recently-opened 山海樓 “Mountain & Sea House”, a restaurant specializing in vintage Taiwanese cuisine. While most people think of Taiwan as the land of night market food, there was in fact a period of time during the Japanese colonial era when Taiwanese haute cuisine thrived. Back then, wealthy patrons would employ personal chefs to create unique and sophisticated dishes to treat special guests, and these banquet delicacies are exactly what Mountain & Sea House tries to revive.

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Befittingly, the restaurant is located in an old house which belonged to a Japanese doctor, and a two-year renovation process resurrected the old structure into something stunning. From the delicately pieced together vintage floor tiles to the elaborate old-school wallpaper, the whole place oozes the charm of a bygone era.

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Mountain & Sea House is actually part of the Green & Safe Group, which operates some of my other favorite restaurants in Taipei and Shanghai like Qimin Organic Hotpot Market and Green & Safe. All these restaurants share a penchant for quality ingredients, and these photos on the wall are testaments to Mountain & Sea House’ effort in sourcing the best organic produce they can get their hands on.

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Fresh vegetables and seafood on display.

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Lunch started with two complimentary cold appetizers: turnips marinated with hibiscus, and sweet potato marinated with citrus. Both refreshing and very delicious.

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A must order at Mountain & Sea House is 山海經典拼盤 (1280 NTD), a gorgeous platter consisting of four cold appetizers: 三色蛋中捲, which is squid stuffed with a mixture of eggs, century eggs, and salted duck egg marinated for 40 days, 甘蔗燻土雞, chicken smoked in the traditional method with sugarcane, 捆蹄, pork stuffed with meat marinated in anka sauce, and 炸蝦捲, shrimp and water chestnut wrapped in tofu skin and fried to a golden brown. There is also a bigger platter with six appetizers, appropriate for those with a larger crowd.

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蚵嗲 (380 NTD), a mixture of small oysters with pork and four types of vegetables, fried to order.

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手工現灌香腸 (480 NTD), artisanal sausages slowly roasted with charcoal, with no added colorings so it looks much more natural than store-bought red sausages.

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蒸有機時蔬 (380 NTD), steamed organic seasonal vegetables. We chose 青花椰菜筍, broccolini simply steamed then stirred with extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany. So fresh, so tender, so naturally sweet.

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古早味炒米粉 (580 NTD),  rice noodles made 100% from rice, stir-fried with house-roasted dried shrimp, sun-dried octopus from Penghu, mushrooms, and seasonal vegetables. I’m usually not a fan of stir-fried rice noodles but this one really was a hit. Highly recommended.

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酸高麗菜醬蒸魚 (seasonal price), steamed fish with fermented cabbage, was perfect in texture and flavor.

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杏仁豆腐 (280 NTD), almond tofu made with almonds and peanuts whipped into a paste, stirred for over 40 minutes by hand, then mixed wih water for the perfect chewy texture. Unlike most store-bought almond tofu, the version at Mountain & Sea House is completely free from artificial additives, so all you taste is the authentic flavor from the ingredients.

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Seasonal fruits, simply and elegantly presented.

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For those who come with bigger groups, there are three beautiful private rooms up on the second floor: the small one seats 8 people with a minimum spend of 24,000 NTD, medium room 16 people 40,000 NTD, large room 20 people 60,000 NTD. The combination of exquisite cuisine, pleasant ambience, and smooth service makes this a perfect place for family gatherings on special occasions, or to treat foreign guests to a proper Taiwanese meal. Definitely a place to try.

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Written by sugarednspiced

March 20th, 2015 at 8:51 pm