Flavors: the Ultimate Swedish Restaurant in Taipei!

January 31, 2010 in Food, Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

 

Before you freak out and call Ghostbusters, that 'orb' you see is from the rain

(Update: I went back again!  For new pics, click here)

Restaurant: Flavors
Cuisine: Swedish
Location: No. 13, Alley 26, Lane 300, Section 4, Ren Ai Road, Taipei
Price: Realistically around TWD 1000 per person (minimum spend TWD 500 per person)
Contact: (02) 2709 6525
Website: www.flavors.com.tw (English available)

Flavors is one of those restaurants you go to and come out thinking ‘Did I really just have the best freaking tasting Swedish food ever...in Taipei?’

Yes, it is.  And yes, I have been to Sweden.

The reason is because Flavors is owned and operated by top Swedish Chef Ola.  Ola is the real deal, not one of those ‘I can pretend to be a proper chef and people will believe me because I’m white’ guys.  In my humble opinion, the man is as close to a culinary genius as I have met.

So Ola cooks, while his Taiwanese wife Stephanie (they met while studying at a restaurant school in Switzerland) runs the dining floor.  Apparently when they first started it was just the two of them, but now they have a few additional helpers both inside the kitchen and out.

Usually I wait until the end of the post to give my rating, but for Flavors I’m going to just come out and say it: 10 out of 10!

Now, you just have to see these food pics.

(Click on ‘More…’ to continue)

Each main comes with bread, soup and salad, though I would recommend a couple of starters that are bound to rock your world.

Delicious, home-made bread with two awesome spreads (I remember one is olive)

I recall you can order either a hot or cold soup. This is the hot one and I have no idea what it is except that it's delicious.

 

A complimentary palate cleanser courtesy of Ola. Again, I have no idea. And again, delicious.

As Jerry Seinfeld once said, 'just a salad', and it wasn't even a 'big' salad. Nevertheless, it was very good. Much better than an ordinary part-of-the-meal-deal salad ought to be.

And now, before we move on to the mains, there is one starter that you MUST try.  MUST.  I don’t apologise for using caps because it’s that important (I don’t apologise for italics).

That starter, dear reader, is the Swedish Meatballs and New Potatoes with Brown Sauce and Lingonberry Jam.  This dish blew away every single meal I had in Sweden like the final shootout scene in Reservoir Dogs.  The meatballs alone would have made it worthwhile to order, but the brown sauce (and no, it’s not that shit you get from British supermarkets) and lingonberry jam add an unexpected but delightful mix of flavours that will make you forget where you are.  This is a big call, but these balls may well be in my top 10 dishes of all time (I’ll never be able to come up with a definitive list, but you’ll just have to trust me on this one).

 

I kid you not. I almost drooled over the keyboard as I typed this caption.

Apparently, once upon a time, the meatballs were a main as opposed to a starter, but because of their popularity, they changed it to ensure customers who rock up later aren’t disappointed.

Anyway, now for the main courses:

 

The fish option

The venison option

The lamb option

The pork option

Now, the reason I gave these dishes generic names rather than detailed descriptions is not because they were not sensational (they were).  It’s because I can’t remember.

Moving on, the dessert.  You may ask – what are the chances of there being two ‘can’t-miss’ dishes at a single restaurant?  Let’s face it, it’s somewhere between the Indiana Pacers winning the NBA title this year and Tiger Woods becoming celibate.  Well, Flavors hit the jackpot with their apple cake.  Hands down, the best apple flavoured dessert I have ever tasted.  That white creamy sauce you see in the picture below is actually very weak in flavour, giving way to the apple and the cake.

 

The legendary apple cake

To cap the night off, another complimentary little dessert from Ola - a thick chocolate with some type of alcoholic cream.

So…that’s that.  Flavors is a magnificent dining experience, and it’s not just because of the food.  The ambiance of the restaurant is stylish yet warm, and Stephanie is great at running through the menu with your personally (in English or Chinese).  Together with the exquisite plates and cutlery, Flavors makes you feel like you’re in a 5-star restaurant.

As for the price – yes, at around TWD 1000 per head, that’s pretty pricey by Taiwanese standards, but if you actually convert the amount (approx. AUD 35, USD 30, GBP 20) it’s relatively cheap for such terrific food.

How to get there

The most unfortunate thing about Flavors is its location.  Unless you go with someone who knows the area, chances are you’ll need a map (or a taxi driver).

Here is a map – the place is within walking distance from Zhongxiao Tunhwa or Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall MRT station (about 15 minutes for both).