I think for many expats like myself, we no longer look for "binary" meals. This artifical separation of what is western versus Asian. We're looking for meals that reflect our lives, this mish mosh of cultures, backgrounds and cusinese. We want meals that reflect the real world. This is what a meal at Restaurant Page is like.
Restaurant Page has been around in Taipei since 2016. It is a modern bistro with touches Taiwanese flair. You can see it in their ingredients, the menu and the plating. The food reflects the unique cooking experiences and personal inspirations of the chefs and founders, Norman and Robin. Tucked away in an alley a stone's throw from the DaZhi MRT station, it is a neighborhood favorite looking for a consistently well-executed western-style fare that is elevated through Taiwanese influences.
Recently listed in the inaugural Michelin Guide for Taipei, the bistro is filled with people seeking a consistently good meal made from fresh ingredients that have clear nods to local cuisine. If you have been to Taiwan, you know the country is blessed with incredible fresh produce, seafood, and pork. Restaurant Page takes advantage of Taiwan's amazing produce and creates an everchanging menu that reflects seasonality.
Working back-of-house, Robin previously was at Justin Quek's La Petite and Villa32. Norman handles front-of-house and worked the line at Yannick Alléno's STAY. You can see these guys sweat it out every day. You also can tell how much they love Danish beer and sake. They have an extensive list.
Taiwanese-style pickled vegetables are found throughout their dishes. Cauliflower, daikon, and radishes are pickled to perfection with fruit vinegar and mirin. Unlike western pickles where herbs and other aromatics are added. Taiwanese pickles are simple by comparison. When paired with local bass, the pickles enhance the delicate white flesh with acidic freshness and a satisfying crunch. Branzino never tasted this good.
My personal favorite appetizer is Norman’s version of the Tuscan cacciucco or fish stew. Made with their own home-made chorizo using Taiwanese pork and local rice wine, this hearty dish will make you look for more bread to sop up the broth. If you can’t find any, don’t be surprised to find diners picking up the bowl to drink it. (The same goes for their beef and ham hock stew.) It is that good.
Restaurant Page's signature entree is a mushroom risotto with a beautifully crisped skin roast chicken simply flavored with white pepper and salt. It is a nod to Taiwan's famous roast chicken prepared in the Taiwanese tandoor (桶仔雞). You can find these roast chicken places throughout the country-side of Taiwan. The marriage of flavors and textures brings earthy satisfaction.
My favorite entree was the stewed lamb shoulder pappardelle. Their handmade pasta carries the sauce well. Their use of New Zealand lamb also means that for those of you that don’t like the flavor of mutton, most of you might mistake it for beef. This entree is a favorite amongst the dinners. Yes, you read correctly. I did say that it “was my favorite.”
The Roast Porkchop is my current favorite. It is a tomahawk chop that has been perfectly marinated, seared, roasted and sauced with unseeded pickled Manjack berries. What are manjack (berries? These are the berries of the cordia dichotoma, a tree found in India, Taiwan and Australia. These pickled berries are a key ingredient in a classic Taiwanese steamed fish (Pòbùzǐ zhēngyú 破布子蒸魚). This is one of my favorite Taiwanese dishes. So I was thrilled to see this applied to pork. The savory flavor of the manjack berries with the fresh basil are a perfect compliment to the chop.
Tiramisu is a must have at Restaurant Page. It is a texture and flavor play that you will enjoy. The homemade chocolate cookie crumble with roasted hazelnuts perfectly compliment the marscapone cheese and the coffee flavored cake base.
There are many other fun dishes at the restaurant you do need to try:
- Chicken Skewers - marinated in Shacha sauce a classic "umami bomb" condiment in Taiwan. It could be the new way to make satay.
- "Oh beh chet" - a Taiwanese street salad using offal. Tender, fresh and very satisfying.
- "Chef Special" -Spaghetti with a vegtable ragu using fermented bean curd (dòu fǔ rǔ - 豆腐乳) and a little parmesan cheese. Fermented bean curd is naturally cheese and savory without the fat. A very clever play by Chef Robin.
Restaurant Page should be on the list for anyone visiting Taipei. Taipei is more than just quality Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine, you will find well executed western dishes that will rival what you have at home. Bon Appetite!
4, Alley 20, Lane 595, Bei-an Road,
Zhongshan, Taipei 110
Kent is a management consultant who has spent years traveling for work. His refuge is looking for the perfect meal so that he can reproduce it at home with his wife and friends.