The Place One of the restaurants I really wanted to check out in my recent Taipei trip is Mume. Run by three young chefs, Mume restaurant is not shy of accolades as it is touted as the best restaurant in Taiwan according to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 at Number 7, the highest spot for Taiwan other than Raw which is at Number 30. The One-Michelin starred restaurant located in Da’an district is a take on Taiwanese ingredients showcased in European culinary techniques.
The space of Mume is not huge and it only serves dinner. There is a small bar area at the entrance, and the dimly lit restaurant is denominated by wooden tables and a semi-open kitchen.
The Food It seems like fixed menu is the way to go as there are only two fixed menu options to go for during dinner. There are two seatings at 6pm or 8:30pm, where the first seating offers only the NT$2,680 Tasting Menu (4 to 5 courses), while the second seating offers both the NT$2,680 Tasting Menu and the NT$3,880 Tasting Menu (8 to 10 courses). I went for the first seating, which showcases quite a couple of seafood-centric dishes coincidentally. The menu doesn’t change by the season per se, more of a function of the seasonality of ingredients available.
The first course is the Prawn and jimaca, a refreshing cold dish decorated with daikon which brings out the fresh flavour of the prawn.
The second course is a fish dish. It is a mix of Crudo, plum and kombu served in a very lovely presentation which I almost thought was a piece of art. The distinct hues which dominate the plate are attributed by the turmeric, basil and chilli oil, which makes the dish visually stunning. The flavour of the crudo is delicious.
My third dish is an optional supplement of NT$380 and I highly recommend this dish as it is one of the signatures at Mume. The Wagyu Beef Tartare is visually beautiful, served with onion, a 60 degrees slow-cooked egg and clam mayonnaise sauce. I like the rich flavour of the tartare, and it goes so well with the accompanying thin and crisp quinoa roll.
To put a bread as one of the courses in a fine dining meal is a bold decision. The freshly baked Country Sourdough is my next course, and the butter is not your ordinary French butter as is is coined as beef butter. True to its name, there is this element of umami in the beef butter, which is smoked with applewood that gives it a nice aroma. The piping hot sourdough is delicious, and I wish that I had a bigger appetite to finish it all.
As the second fish dish on the menu, the Milkfish with abalone is perhaps the dish which surprised me the most. Served with local abalone sauce, this dish uses the milkfish stomach which is the most tender part, and it is smoked with tie guan yin tea which lends it a strong and fragrant tea aroma. I am not too familiar with Milkfish, and I learnt from the staff that it is a popular ingredient commonly found in the local street food scene such as in congee.
The last savoury course is the Ox Tongue, where mushroom broth is poured over the meat. You get a nice tender flavour of the beef here, well-balanced by the comforting mushroom broth and the baby mushrooms by the side.
For dessert, it is a Tropical theme and the main elements are mango with honey along with Kavalan whisky ice cream. Very interesting textures and combination here, where there is also that tinge of lemongrass flavour to balance the palate.
Rants Not the best kind of lighting for food photography and the dim lighting could be a little too sleepy to dine in for long.
Will I Return Again? The theme of Mume is strong and like Raw, I really appreciate the use of local ingredients and flavours in the dishes which are executed beautifully at Mume. This is a restaurant to try if you have always been curious about the fine casual dining scene in Taiwan and suffice to say, it is one restaurant which puts Taiwan on the global food map in recent years.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
No. 28, Siwei Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Tel: +886 2 2700 0901
Monday to Sunday: 6pm to 11pm
Ranted by The Ranter