Michelin-quality fine dining at STAY (Taipei 101)

October 24, 2013 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

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One of the premier dining locations in Taiwan is of course at Taipei 101, formerly the tallest building in the world. We heard about this place there called STAY, an acronym for Simple Table by Alléno Yannick, the French chef who has been awarded 3 Michelin Stars since 2007. Needless to say, it’s an expensive meal with a lot of creative fine dining cuisine.

Located on the 4th floor of Taipei 101, STAY has the look of a fancy joint with its large tables, dim lighting and crafty decorations. We went for lunch and they offered four set menus ranging from NT$980-NT$2800. Here’s what each had to offer.

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It was not our original intention, but after much deliberation we ended up going with the two most expensive ones.

First of all, we got to sample the house bread, which was an assortment of hard-crusted buns and baguettes. They were pretty good, with the standout being the lemon and honey bread. Man that was good!

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House bread

Next, the canapes. I won’t pretend I remember what they are, but they were more interesting than delicious. Pretty to look at but the flavours or textures did not jump out at me.

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Introductory canapes

The NT$1900 menu offered a starter of seabream ceviche (below). Now this is more like what ‘m talking about. It’s basically seabream sashimi with a citrus sauce. The little capers and the mayo on top were amazing when complemented with the fresh fish. I liked this dish a lot.

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Seabream ceviche

For the more expensive NT$2800 set, we got the Maine lobster salad as the appetizer. The lobster salad tasted somewhat like a crab salad, which is great, and the crispy thing you see in the photo went well with the sun-dried tomato and cheese. But the creamy sauce drops were not as flavoursome as I expected. It would have been nice if it gave the salad an extra kick.

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Main lobster salad

Next up, as part of the NT$1900 set, a pumpkin soup with a whole slab of creamy mustard on top. Very nice.

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Pumpkin soup

The soup with the more expensive set was oyster with leek compote and bread. If you like oysters, this is your thing. Personally, I preferred the pumpkin, but the fresh oysters were pretty good too.

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Oyster soup

The NT$2800 set has one extra course which we shared — the crispy ravioli stuffed with duck confit and foie gras. I have to say, this was one my my favourites. It’s pretty much like a duck tarte with a tangy cherry sauce. The actual cherry pieces were sublime.

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Crispy ravioli with duck confit and foie gras

Then it was time for the main courses. With the NT$1900 set we got a US prime rib-eye steak and with the NT$2800 set we got a veal tenderloin, both cooked to medium rare as suggested. Both were pretty good though not the best steaks I’ve had. These were more delicate and refined, especially the veal which had gnocchi and mushrooms.

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US rib-eye steak

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Veal with gnocchi, mushrooms and spinach

Last but not least, dessert. The NT$1900 set came with a Philadelphia cheese cake, which I was stunned to see because it resembled no cheesecake I’ve ever seen. See those three tiny blocks? Yep, those were the cheesecakes, one bite each and gone in a real hurry. The cubes were good and the basil ice cream was surprisingly awesome, but the cheesecake was underwhelming because I felt like I didn’t really get to taste it.

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Philadelphia cheesecake

The most expensive set of course comes with the most extravagant dessert. In this case, it was a pastry ribbon of four pastry desserts plus two sorbets. They were OK, with the standout being the little chocolate tarts on the left.

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Pastry ribbon

The waitress also walked around with a bunch of marshmallow sticks in chocolate, lemon and strawberry. I’m not a big fan of marshmallow and found them a little on the sweet side. I did however like the chocolate coated stick with pistachios which reminded me of those Japanese Pocky snacks.

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Marshmallow sticks + chocolate covered biscuit stick with pistachio bits

Dessert actually wasn’t the last thing. There was also coffee and desserts. Standard stuff.

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Overall, STAY was not the breathtaking experience I had expected when I heard it was run by a 3 Michelin Stars chef, but it’s still a nice, classy meal with some clever and well-presented dishes. For the price, however, there are probably better options out there. I just don’t think it brought out the best of what Alléno Yannick had on offer.

8/10

Details

STAY (Simple Table by Alléno Yannick)

Website: http://www.yannick-alleno.com/restaurant/taipei/ (French)

Phone: +886 2 8101 8177

Address: 4th Floor, Taipei 101, ShiFu Rd, No. 45, XinYi District, Taipei