I am spending 9 months in Taipei, Taiwan, as many of you already know, and I thought I would use this time to discover the best and the finest places around here. One of the places that made it to the top of my list was the Mandarin Oriental, Taipei luxury hotel.
I was therefore thrilled to be invited for a visit and an gastronomic experience at their upscale Ya Ge restaurant.
Upon entering in the hotel’s marble lobby, one can only be impressed by the magnificent chandelier, made of 50,000 crystal pieces.
Fresh flowers everywhere add touches of colours and elegance, as does the numerous art works on display.
I had the opportunity to visit some of the beautiful suites. The 303 rooms at the Mandarin Oriental are the largest luxury rooms you’ll find in the city. They are beautifully and tastefully decorated. From the fine fabrics to the leather work on the walls, you’ll find luxury materials all over the place.
Each room and suite comes with a luxurious marbled bathroom and a walk-in closet.
Some suites have a bar space as well as a spacious living room area, such as this one.
The presidential suite is suited for royalty and quite impressive! It even has it own private spa and gym.
Our next stop was the Mandarin Cake Shop, where guests and customers can find luxury cakes and pastries. The packagings are exquisite and colourful and a treat from this sweetness heaven will for sure make a beautiful present to bring back to a loved one.
In another area of the hotel, I enjoyed browsing through their beautiful book collection. There are a few nice and quiet sitting areas where guests can relax while consulting the beautiful books about art and history.
Books are made available for the guests to read and consult, and it is also possible to purchase them.
The hotel offers a beautiful choice of restaurants. The Café Un Deux Trois is one of them, and I just loved it’s bold design.
In fact, all the restaurants have been designed by the international design master Tony Chi, and they each have a very distinctive look and feeling.
Guests can also enjoy casual yet fine and authentic Italian cuisine at the Bencotto restaurant.
Every restaurant are equipped with private rooms for groups.
Before our meal, we had the pleasure to enjoy tea at The Jade Lounge. Here, the delicate and feminine decor has for main theme the peacock, a symbol of prosperity in Chinese culture.
I was amazed by the beautiful details, like the real pearl embroiled couches, or the peacock feathers on the lamps and the curtains.
I had seen many beautiful hotels and palaces in my travels around the world, but I have rarely seen this level of fine details every where.
The wallpaper and the table tops are made of sculpted leather representing leaves and flowers (like peonies in the bedroom, another symbol of prosperity and good luck).
You can take your time to admire all those precious details while sipping on a delicate and fine tea. The Jade Lounge also offers the full afternoon tea experience, a fabulous option for a chic afternoon out (and one that I definitely intend to try on my next visit).
At this point, I was getting excited about our culinary experience to come at the Ya Ge restaurant, the most upscale restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental, where the renowned Chef Tse Man prepares an authentic and high end Cantonese cuisine.
The decor is sophisticated and the ambiance is absolutely charming. We were greeted by the staff in such a pleasant and polite way and we sat at our table expecting nothing but the best!
We started our feast with some Wok-fried radish cake, a creamy delight filled with dried shrimps, Chinese sausage and X.O. sauce. I really enjoyed and and it’s definitely something I will be looking for on other places’ menu, although I doubt that they will be as good as those ones were.
Next, we had some dumplings. The first one we tasted was the Matsutake mushroom, fungus dumpling (steamed). This was a delicious mix of flavours and textures.
Then, we tried the Australian abalone, with pork and shrimp Shu-Mai steamed dumplings. It was the first time I was trying abalone, and for those of you who would not know, it’s a kind of giant sea snail. The subtle flavour is quite unique; buttery, a little sweet, with just a hint of ocean. The texture was also very interesting.
Then came the spring rolls; crispy on the outside and filled with goodness on the inside (crab meat and shrimp). Delicious!
The barbecued honey pork was one of my favorite. Marinated first, then cooked slowly and glazed with honey, the meat was so tender that it almost melt in our mouth. The sweet and salty mix was perfectly balanced.
The last of the savoury dish was a delicious oven-baked crab meat with onion. This creamy, generous portion of meat was absolutely delicious.
Then came the deserts! The mango, pomelo, coconut and sago cream was quite a treat. Refreshing and light, this creamy soup is perfect for a touch of fruity sweetness.
Last but not least, we enjoyed those black and gold Charcoal salted-egg custard buns. Those little steamed buns were firm but fluffy on the outside, creamy and sweet on the inside – a perfect treat to end a perfect feast!
As you can see, we had a wonderful time at the Mandarin Oriental Taipei. It is for sure one of the most exquisite hotel in the city. It’s beautiful restaurants are open to all, so even if you are not staying at the hotel, you can come and enjoy their fine cuisine.
Thank you very much for having us, it was truly a beautiful experience and I am looking forward to the next time.
Mandarin Oriental, Taipei
No. 158, Dunhua North Road, Songshan District
Taipei City, 10548