Silk Road Feast at The Westin Taipei

May 7, 2015 in Food, Reviews

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A very kind friend gave us a couple of paid-for coupons to the Silk Road Feast buffet at the Westin hotel in Taipei. Despite buffet restaurants upping the ante every year, Silk Road is still known as one of the most deluxe buffets around with its extensive variety and the overall quality of the food. This is no cheap stuff. Silk Road has fresh seafood, made-to-order pasta and omelettes, sashimi, Thai, Chinese dim sums, and freshly made Indian naan and so forth, and of course the usual salads, desserts and hot dishes. Even if you just take one bite of everything they have on offer you’ll still end up stuffed.

The biggest attraction at Silk Road, however, is that in addition to the buffet, each guest also receives a main course — a Choice-grade US steak, grilled in a hot plate deliver straight to your table with roasted garlic.

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A steak main course comes with every buffet entry

If you don’t like steak, they can replace it with half an Australian golden lobster.

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The lobster alternative

Each table comes with a few plastic tokens with your table number on it. You can take the token to some of the made-to-order counters and just drop it into a box. When the chef is done they will take it to your table so you don’t have to stand around and wait.

There is also a bar with plenty of fresh juices and other beverages they can make for you on the spot. If you want tea or coffee you can just ask the waiter and they will bring it to your table.

Anyway, let me give you a brief tour of the facilities.

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This is the fresh sashimi section, where the chef will slice up an assortment of fresh fish to your liking. There’s also some rice there if you want to make chirashi.

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This is the fresh seafood isle and cold section, with fresh shrimp, squid, and pre-made salads.

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A little further down is the cold cuts and fresh DIY salad section.

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Head around the corner and you’ll enter the Indian section, with a bunch of flavoursome curries on offer.

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An authentic Indian chef makes authentic Indian naaan (or is that chapati?).

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Back around the front, there’s this fresh seafood section I completely missed until I was too full. You pick what you want and they cook if for you.

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In this section you choose the type of pasta you want, the kinds of meat you want, and the type of sauce you want. And the chef will make it for you, fresh.

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This is the hot food section. Mainly Chinese stir-fries.

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I think this is the Thai section. Meatballs and curries with Thai rice and rice cakes.

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A little further down and you get to the roasted meats section. The place to be if hams and sausages are your thing.

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And then there’s a dim sum section with chicken feet and shumais.

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This is the bar area with juice jugs and beverage dispensers.

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Bread paradise. I missed taking a photo of the omelette section, which is right next to this.

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Fruit to finish off the meal. Those tiny white bowls in the photo are buts and candies like M&Ms. The cheese and crackers section is next to that.

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Cakes!

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And last, but not least, the gelato. You can get it in a cup or cone.

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No comment.

In all, a super stuffing meal with amazing variety. The steak was obviously not the best I’ve had, but it tops a lot of steak restaurants I’ve been to before. Cooked medium, with roasted garlic…mmm…you don’t even need to add any additional flavour. I liked the lobster as well, though it didn’t have quite as much flesh as I would have liked.

As a buffet, there will be some hits and some misses, but each section at Silk Road manages to hit a certain level of quality. You might not love everything, but there will be very few things that will disappoint, if any. The service is also outstanding and there are enough waiters in each seating area to make sure you are well attended to.

On the whole, a quality experience. I’m not sure trying everything is a good idea for your health or your palette, but if you can manage, good for you. My favourites were the salmon sashimi (extremely fresh), the Thai section, the Indian naan, and of course, the desserts. No chocolate flavoured gelato, which is probably my only complaint of this visit.

9.5/10

Details

Silk Road Feast at The Westin Taipei

Website: http://www.westin-taipei.com/01_text.asp?ln=1&sn=27

Address: 133 Nanjing East Rd. Sec.3, Taipei, Taiwan

Phone: Tel : +886-2-8770-6565    (booking hotline: +886-2-3518-3078)

Hours and Prices:

Breakfast 06:30 -10:00 / NT$750+10% per person; NT$375+10% per child (5-12)

Lunch 11:30 -14:00 / NT$1,380+10% per person; NT$375+10% per child (5-12)

Afternoon Tea 15:00 -17:00 / NT$990+10% per person (no main course) or

NT$1,380+10% per person (with main course) or NT$350 +10% A la carte;

NT$495+10% per child (5-12) (no main course) or NT$885+10% per child (with main course)

Dinner 18:00 – 21:30 / NT$1,380+10% / per person ; NT$690+10% per child (5-12)

Snack -A la carte 21:00-22:30

*No main course for children unless specified otherwise

Movie Review: The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

January 28, 2015 in Movie Reviews, Reviews

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I must admit I was not all that enthused about seeing The Hundred-Foot Journey, even though it’s supposedly a comedy about an Indian restaurant opening next to a Michelin-starred one in France. And being the pig I am, that should have made it a must-see. The poster, however, just made it look…boring, and it didn’t help that it had Helen Mirren acting all Queen-like on it.

Anyway, I ended up watching the movie on my flight back to Sydney because I had more or less seen everything else on offer. The premise is better thought-through than I imagined: an Indian family that ran a restaurant in Mumbai is forced the leave India for the UK due to civil unrest, and then relocates to France because English vegetables suck. They eventually settle near the village Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val and decide to open a loud Indian restaurant in the abandoned building across the road from an upscale French restaurant owned by Helen Mirren (who plays an English-speaking woman with a French accent), sparking a competitive “war” between the two sides. I don’t want to give too much more of the plot away, though I will say I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there’s a lot more to the story than this initial chapter.

It’s never a bad thing to have Helen Mirren in any film, and she is as brilliant as you would expect as the seemingly stuck up Madame Mallory. Indian-American actor Manish Dayal plays the central character, the culinarily gifted Hassan, with veteran Om Puri playing his traditional yet feisty father. French actress Charlotte Le Bon plays the attractive sous chef at the French restaurant who develops a friendship with Hassan, though I found the chemistry between them to be somewhat lacking.

The weird thing is that while the film turned out very similar to what I had expected, I actually ended up quite liking it.  Not that I would have minded, but the film is nowhere near the food porn that Jon Favreau’s Chef is because it’s all about the characters and their respective journeys. It’s mildly amusing but not super funny. And the romance(s) isn’t a central focus of the film, so it’s never given proper attention.

It’s really a mish-mash of several ideas that can’t really decide what it wants to be (as reflected in at least two direction changes in the plot), and yet the final product is undeniably likable. The food is nice, the story is pleasant and the characters are affable. Nothing about it will blow you away, but it’ll more than do the trick if you’re simply after a feel-good experience. If we’re comparing it to cuisine, The One-Hundred Foot Journey is no Michelin star banquet, but it’s a lovely and warm home-cooked meal some might find just as enjoyable.

3.5 stars out of 5