Taipei locals have been raving about Shaffer’s Kitchen for a couple of years. Opened by a Taiwanese woman looking for something to do after moving back from the United States with her American husband, the restaurant is known for her home-style cooking with a gourmet touch. Think of kind of stuff the contestants of My Kitchen Rules like to make. (For a more detailed history, check out this post from Taiwan Xifu)
Reservations are highly recommended. We went for lunch just before Valentine’s Day, and the place appears to be particularly popular with local workers because of their affordable business lunch set. Intent on something more special, we asked for the regular menu instead. And here it is.
Since it was (almost) Valentine’s Day, they were also nice enough to give us this home-made, hand-made cookie.
We ordered way too much stuff for ordinary humans to consume. We started off with some marvellous home-made bread. The long slices are infused with olive oil and herbs, while the round buns are hot and fluffy on the inside. A great way to kick off the meal ahead.
The soup of the day was carrot (I know it looks like pumpkin), and it had both a nice flavour and consistency.
We ordered one of the special starters (on the blackboard in the back), roasted eggplant with pine nuts on toast. This one had a lot of Balsamic on it, which was a little too much for me, though there’s no denying that it’s a fine conceptual creation.
The other starter we got was from the menu, the goose liver pate. This was very fragrant and would have been a good order had I not already devoured so much bread.
Yes, we got another starter, the salmon crepe roll, which came stuffed with salmon and creme cheese, with fish roe on top. This was my favourite starter. Small but delicate and delicious.
After the glut of starters, we had barely any room to fit the two mains, the first of which was the duck breast with red wine berry reduction.
I loved this duck breast and the sauce that came with it. The duck was seared to perfection, with a crispy skin on the edge and soft flesh beneath. The sauce was tangy and sweet, and thankfully there was plenty of it.
The other main was the famed balsamic roast chicken. Just look at it.
As I said before, I’m not the biggest fan of balsamic, but in the right doses it can be sublime. They got it right with this chicken, with the sweet and sour flavours penetrating deep into the skin without being too pungent or overpowering.
We really wanted to get some dessert was well (there is a wine-pear dessert that’s supposed to be awesome) but we were too stuffed to dare.
So on the whole, Shaffer’s Kitchen lives up to the hype. Good food, friendly atmosphere and hospital service at reasonable prices. It’s not Michelin-star cuisine, but as far as classy, home-style Western cooking goes, this is about as good as it gets.
Shaffer’s Kitchen (雪飛詩歐廚)
Address: No. 9, Lane 42, Yixian Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City
Phone: (o2) 8789 4088
Opening Hours: Tue – Fri 11:30pm – 9:30pm; Sat – Sun 11:00am – 9:30pm (Closed Mondays)