Upon arriving at the industrial city of Taichung, one would not expect to find one of the best restaurants in Asia nestled within one of its neighbourhoods. In fact, the city is becoming quite the cultural hub as exemplified by the beautifully constructed National Taichung Theatre. As it was a sunny day, my dining partner and I decided to walk over to the restaurant. The restaurant is located within a 4 storey mansion within one of the more upscale neighbourhoods in the city. The interior of the restaurant is certainly very refined, and adorned with chandeliers and various pieces of modern art.
The chef is Chen Lanshu, whom had learnt her craft at Le Cordon Bleu in France, and honed her skills with Jean François Piège and Thomas Keller. Le Moût is now ranked No. 28 in the San Pellegrino’s Asia Best Restaurants 2017 list, and the chef had also previously won Asia’s best female chef in 2014.
We started off the meal with some nibbles. One the left was cream infused with clam, which was wrapped with a thin wafer. On the right was a Marshmallow of sorts with specks of ham on top. Both were quite a nice bite of food and delicate in flavour.
We were then served some house made bread which had chinese sausage and Kaoliang wine incorporated into it. The bread was very savoury but also had some sweetness from the Chinese sausage.
The first amuse was chopped bone marrow served served on top of a crisp. The bone marrow was quite unctuous and had a lot of flavour, whilst the crisp added a nice crunch to the dish.
For the starter of our tasting menu, we were served smoked Foie gras with lotus roots, Osmanthus, and apricot. The foie gras was luscious and had a delicate, creamy texture. The lotus roots were thinly sliced and served both raw and deep fried, which added a crunch as well as a light, earthy sweetness. The apricot also added a sweetness which paired well with the foie gras. Overall, a very well balanced dish.
For the next course, we were served “chicken wings” which had been bound together with shrimp, served with various dimensions of tomato, gherkins, and green mayonnaise. The Chicken wing with shrimp had a dense, meaty texture which wasn’t dry, and paired nicely with the rich, concentrated tomato flavours.
Moving on, was a dish of Maine lobsters served with chorizo bits, green sauce, raspberry, and rose petals. There’s certainly a lady’s touch with this dish, as the presentation was gorgeous and rather feminine. The lobster was perfectly cooked, and paired well with the slight sweetness and acidity from the raspberries, as well as the floral accent from the Rose. Quite a bizarre combination of flavours, and not exactly a match made in heaven. But overall, it worked with delicate and well balanced flavours.
For my main course, I had the Mangalica pork with blazei mushrooms, mustard greens, and rice sauce. Mangalica (or Mangalitsa) is apparently an old World breed of pig from Hungary, and is well known for having copious amounts of lard. This cut of meat certainly had a good amount of fat albeit not overwhelming so, and had a lot of flavour. The blazei mushrooms were served raw, and in addition to the mustard greens, gave a nice balancing bitterness to the dish to cut against the luscious, fatty pork. The rice sauce was infused with mustard greens, and redolent of the liquid from porridge. A very flavourful and satisfying main course, and an interesting contrast versus the prior courses which were much more delicate.
As a intermezzo before dessert, was a Cacao consommé jelly with apple tatin sorbet. The refreshing apple sorbet was a nice contrast with the rich Cacao jelly.
We concluded the meal with a beautifully composed dessert, which was a homage to the famous Dutch artist, Piet Mondriaan and Mies van der Rohe. The dessert certainly resembled his iconic painting with three primary colours of red, blue and yellow. The red colour was derived from red bell peppers, blue from blueberries and flowers, and yellow from passionfruit. Beneath it, was delicious New York cheesecake. Interestingly enough, the red bell peppers were slightly raw, and actually worked well to balance out the richness of the cheesecake. This was a visually striking and very delicious dessert course.
The cuisine of Le Moût is certainly French in technique and sensibilities, albeit with Chinese elements clearly infused into the dishes with great precision. Most of her dishes are quite delicate, but on the other hand, she doesn’t shy away from strong flavours as shown in the pork dish. Overall, this was a very enjoyable meal with delicious and competent dishes coupled with friendly service. I would certainly recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for a romantic dining getaway in Taichung, with world class cookery and service to boot.
Location: 59 Cunzhong St., Taichung 403, Taiwan. +886 4 2375-3002. Website.