Mume: Introducing Familiar Flavors with a Modern European Flare
Hello everyone! This will be our first post of 2017. And, this month, we're going to do a few catch-up reviews for restaurants in Hong Kong and Taiwan from our Asia trip back in November 2016. This review will be about Mume, a restaurant serving Modern European cuisine in a casual setting in the Da'an District of Taipei, Taiwan. Some of the ingredients/flavors are noticeably Asian, like Jasmine Mascarpone or the use of Shochu in their cocktails. This welcomes locals and visitors to experience accustomed flavors in a different way. The menu seems to change frequently (in a good way). Just to be upfront, these are some of the most well-presented and photogenic photos of food on this blog so you might feel severely hungry pretty soon.
Throughout the meal, there were several dishes I liked and a few I did not like at all. Overall, I think Mume is totally worth a visit as long as you know what to order.
Address: No.28, Siwei Road, 四維路28號, Da'an District, 台北市 106, Taiwan
Wagyu Tartare, Clam Mayo, Confit Egg Yolk, Preserved Daikon
BBQ Pork Ribs with Plum & Miso Glaze, Capers, Mustard Greens
Country Sourdough with Beer Butter & Smoked Beef Fat Butter
Kampachi Crudo: Sorrel, Preserved Green Mango, Rose Geranium
Crispy Amadai in Aromatic Broth with Engawa, Parsley and Lemon Thyme
Passion Fruit, Grilled Financier, Jasmine Mascarpone, Honeycomb
Baby Potato with Mushroom Crumble and Cultured Cream
Raki Raki: Green Tea Infused Shochu, Raki, Plum, Lemon
Liver Brûlée: Chicken Liver Parfait, Seasonal Herbs
For this meal, we started with a couple of appetizers that I liked a lot. As it was our first time, we did ask for the waiter's recommendations on the house specialties. To start, we got the Country Sourdough, which was baked so well that we ordered two of these. They both arrived consistently warm. The bread came with two types of butter: Guinness Beer Butter and Smoked Beef Fat Butter. Oh my asparagus! I loved these butters. That Smoked Beef Fat Butter had me begging for more.
Next, we got the Wagyu Tartare (see above). Look at it. Look at how beautiful it looks. A+ for presentation for sure. It's like steak tartare but Mume used wagyu beef instead. When preparing steak tartare, it's important to use the highest quality meat available. Most people imagine that steak tartare is made with the raw meat patties they see at groceries. No, that's gross. It's totally different. The beef needs to come from fresh and high quality (almost always grass-fed) cows. The use of better meat means more tenderness and better natural flavor.
By using wagyu beef, Mume's tartare had an extra buttery texture from the marbling of the beef. Mume dressed the tartare with Clam Mayo, Preserved Daikon, and Confit Egg Yolk. As a whole, it was nice, meaty, and buttery with little hints of vinegar and brine. It tasted a bit more complex than regular tartares but not too much to overwhelm the taste of the meat. Typically, tartare will be topped with a raw egg but Mume topped theirs with Confit Egg Yolk, which is gently cooked and placed atop pasta. Unlike raw egg yolk, a confit egg yolk is slow cooked to produce a gooey, spread-like consistency. This was a refreshing twist to steak tartare. I'd definitely order this one again!
The Liver Brûlée was made with a Chicken Liver Parfait and Seasonal Herbs. My favorite part about the liver was that they caramelized the top like a Crème Brûlée. I LOVED IT. This was a really nice addition to the liver because it offset some of the less pleasing tastes of the liver. Usually, I think that chicken liver can be more metallic in flavor so I get sick of it over time. The sweetness of Mume's Brûlée was perfect in balancing with the rich and fatty flavor of the liver.
The Kampachi Crudo was made with Sorrel, Preserved Green Mango, and Rose Geranium. This was so aromatic that I could smell it from across the table. It was actually mostly the Rose Geranium, which gave the dish a pleasant citrusy and floral scent. FUN FACT: Rose Geranium Oil is often used as a topical for nerve pain!
Lastly, I really liked the Crispy Amadai in Aromatic Broth (see above). Amadai is one of my favorite fish to eat and you'll know why in just a second. It was lightly dressed with Engawa, Parsley, and Lemon Thyme. I did not notice the Engawa but, perhaps, I was not paying close enough attention. Engawa is the slivers of meat around the fillets of a flat fish. It is very expensive! It has a little bit of a crunch-like texture. Amadai is one of my favorites because how the scales stand up when seared or fried. It looks very strange at first sight but the crisp is hard to deny. It's got a firm texture, like red snapper. And, it's very tasty!
There were, however, a few dishes that I was not a fan of. The Grilled Toast we ordered to pair with the Tartare and the Chicken Liver tasted old and bare. The Beef Short Rib Pastrami (below) looked really nice until I ate it. Then, I became sad.The short rib was surprisingly tough and had a lot of streaks of tough fat/collagen. The taste was not bad but it wasn't memorable either.