Review Score: 77 / 100.
One more fancy dinner outing is in store before concluding my trip in Taipei. After much frustration in being unable to lock down a table at Raw, I went for possibly the next best thing. MUME isn’t one of the typical fine dining, white table cloth restaurants, and in fact a more contemporary sit down establishment with a cocktail bar up front, and actually good music playing at the stereo at a proper decibel range to allow for proper conversations with one’s dining partner.
The triumvirate chefs come from various backgrounds, and have trained at some very renowned temples of gastronomy such as Noma in Copenhagen, and Quay at Sydney. There were awarded no. 43 in 2017’s Asia best restaurant award (Read Here). The results of their collaboration shall soon be evident.
We opted for a selection of snacks, and what were dubbed to be Smaller and Bigger plates of food. Our solo snack option was Liver Brulee, which was chicken liver parfait with the top torched to resemble a creme brulee, and topped off with various herbs. I really enjoyed the slightly crisp texture, and the chicken liver parfait itself was incredibly smooth and rich, without any hint of a metallic taste versus a standard chicken liver dish. The herbs on top provided some bitterness to contrast against the richness of the dish. Certainly, a very proper example of chicken liver done right and with a bit of twist. Also, this worked nicely with the country sourdough bread, which was freshly baked and had a good crust.
Next, was the MUME salad made with 20 types of seasonal vegetables from local producers, and dressed with fermented black beans. There were various textures going on, and the combination was certainly quite pleasing and refreshing. There were hints of sweetness, as well as some acidity from what tasted like balsamic vinegar. Overall, well balanced and a good, light start to the meal.
Moving on, was Wagyu tartare prepared with clam mayo, confit egg yolk, and preserved daikon. As a Chinese kid growing up in Malaysia, preserved daikon is certainly quite ubiquitous in our Sunday porridge (or Congee) days at home. It was quite comforting to see it incorporated into the tartare, which provided a nice crunchy texture. Overall, this was a very good tartare with great texture, a hint of sea from the clam mayo, and the yolk provided some additional creaminess to bind the components together in a cohesive fashion.
For the last of the smaller plates, were scallops with zucchini, fennel, citrus, lemon verbena, and roasted kombu. The scallops were perfectly cooked and had some lovely natural sweetness, while the rest of the components were well prepared although quite light. A good dish although not exactly bursting with flavour.
For the first of the main courses, was Wagyu beef cheeks with smoked yoghurt, black garlic, and Brassicas. The beef cheeks were impressively tender but also had a nice char on top. The yoghurt has some smokiness, and was a nice pairing with the beef and the Brassicas (or some form of Mustard leaves), the latter of which provided some bitterness and texture.
For the final savoury course, was a crispy Amadai or tile fish, served with aromatic broth, Engawa, parsley, and lemon thyme. The scales were left on the fish and perfectly fried, which had a lovely crunchy texture. The fish itself was well cooked and the herbs and broth were quite light, but I suppose served to highlight the fish. A very enjoyable dish, and seemed to have some Japanese influence in it.
We concluded the meal with a grilled Financier with passion fruit, jasmine mascarpone, and Honeycomb. Never had a grilled financier before, but it has a nicely charred top with a rich, buttery flavour with it. Overall, felt that it was quite intense and could have used more passion fruit to cut the richness of the dish. Tasty, but could have been better.
Overall, we had quite a good meal here at this restaurant. There is certainly a Nordic sensibility here which is redolent of Noma, and there’s a definite Taiwanese and some Japanese influences being incorporated into the dishes. The food had all the right components going into it by using local produce, balance of flavours and textures, and mostly quite visually pleasing and tasty food. Would I crave over one of the dishes? Probably not as much as Fat Duck’s BFG or French Laundry’s immaculate Wagyu beef, but was nonetheless a fun experience.
Location: No. 28, Siwei Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106. +886 2 2700 0901. Website.