The Place It is not an exaggeration to coin RAW as the most difficult restaurant to reserve in Taipei, and possibly the whole of Taiwan. For a start, this is Chef Andre Chiang’s contemporary innovative Taiwanese cuisine concept which has Two Michelin Stars under its belt and a spot of Number 30 on Asia’s 50 Best 2019. I was really excited to make my way to RAW Taipei, especially after the closure of Restaurant Andre in Singapore.
The interior of RAW is nothing like the fancy French interior of Restaurant Andre. The dining space is open and contemporary, denominated by bold curvy wooden fixtures and a semi-open kitchen where you can catch the intense action at play.
The Food My visit coincided with the new Autumn Menu, a fix 9-course journey which is available for both lunch and dinner. The theme for Autumn is various types of Taiwanese sauces which is used as a base ingredient in each dish.
The first course is a tofu with century egg and topped with caviar from Taiwan. I am surprised by the use of local caviar, and the soy sauce element is evident here from the century egg. A very oriental start to the meal!
Second course is one of the most fanciful. Served in uni shell, the star ingredient here is the water chestnut glazed with soy sauce and topped with uni presented in a lollipop fashion. I was told to have it in one go, so you can imagine the burst of umami which lasted for seconds.
The third course is quite interesting. Oysters were served and they are decorated with various colours with seaweed sauce, pomelo with Peruvian tiger’s milk sauce, Taiwanese hibiscus, and pumpkin with kamquet sauce. One ingredient but four very distinct flavours to complement the fresh oysters, a very smart way to showcase the potential of the kitchen in one course.
The next course centres around mushroom. The porcini mushroom is accompanied by cured pork liver which is shaved over the mushroom, somewhat like a truffle shaving moment but much more unique.
I like the intense flavour of the mushroom on the whole, and the cured pork liver element is novel yet it also enhances the flavour of the dish. In addition, Taiwan CEP is also served by the side as a separate soup to the dish.
The fifth dish reminds me of Swiss cheese fondue. While it looks like bone marrow, the star ingredient here is local bamboo shoot which is sliced into bite size to resemble potato. You then dip the bamboo into the fondue which has a strong peanut oil flavour. Another pretty novel course with a very strong Asian flavour profile.
What’s the best way to enjoy crab roe? According to RAW, I had the next dish on a crackling sushi style where the copious crab roe is scooped from a bottle and topped with ikura.
The pancake-like base is very crispy, though slightly greasy as well. This reminded me of a local Taiwanese street snack, Cong You Bing.
The next dish is a sturgeon fish served with white tapenade and endive. This is one of my least favourite course as there is not much element of surprise here.
The last savoury dish I had is a local duck from Zhanghua. The sliced duck is wrapped around braised daikon and miso broth is poured over it. Very flavourful duck meat here along with a hearty broth to conclude one of the last courses.
Before the proper dessert was served, I had a soy sauce ice cream as a pre-dessert. My first time having such a flavour and it is very interesting, not weird but fun.
The dessert is inspired from Italian affogato. Local Tonka coffee is used here, topped with vanilla cacao and mixed with banana soursop.
I find it interesting where the edges of the cup is decorated with what seem like autumn leaves to celebrate the new season, such fine attention to details.
Rants Securing a table at RAW is akin to striking lottery, you will need a lot of luck.
Will I Return Again? To say that RAW is my most anticipated meal of 2019 is not an understatement. I like innovative cuisine in different cities, and with Chef Andre Chiang, it barely disappoints. The trend towards sustainable eating is real and RAW is definitely at the forefront of this movement.
It is not so much of whether I want to return, but more of a question if I can be so lucky to snag a seat the next time. Yes, I would want to dine here again for sure.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
No. 301號, Lequn 3rd Road
Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
Wednesday to Sunday: 11:30am to 2:30pm, 6pm to 10pm
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Tel: +886 2 8501 5800
Ranted by The Ranter