Sunday, September 22, 2013

TATA Restaurant: Jiaoxi, YiLan County Taiwan; French and European Cuisine; Fine Food; Chef Jassway Lo

TATA Restaurant: A Culinary Jewel nestled in the farmland of Jiaoxi, in the Northeast of YiLan County, Taiwan. 

On my second trip to Taiwan in 2013, I visited YiLan County which is a little more than 1 hour Southeast of Taipei on the new Route 5 expressway.  Known for its seafood, and rich farmlands, the areas I have visited in YiLan county are the city of YiLan in the center of the county, the urban township of LuoDong to the South, and most recently the rural township Jiaoxi to the Northeast along the coast, almost due West of Turtle Island.

Farmland in Taiwan and farmland in the USA or Europe, is much different than in Taiwan, and other countries in Southeast Asia.  Areas in Taiwan producing rice and similar plants are grown in small plots of flooded land (urban rice patties so to speak).   Other larger flooded areas have fountains or aerators because they raise many types of freshwater fish in this area.

Just below Route 5, (which is an elevated road over this area), along a very narrow country farm road (barely wide enough for one car) and across from these water farmlands is the new Tata Restaurant.  

TATA Restaurant has only been open since May 18, 2013 and features scrumptious French and European cuisine.  Did I just say scrumptious?  Maybe I meant, fabulous, wonderful, delicious, mouth-watering, delightful……… I’m getting hungry again just thinking about their food.  This is one fine restaurant serving absolutely great food!

Now I know what I am saying about European fine food.  I have traveled and eaten at fine restaurants all over Europe, including Ireland, Scotland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and more.  Over the years, I have eaten many hundreds of wonderful meals, all over Europe, and of course even more around the world, including many, many fine French and European cuisine restaurants around the USA.  So, without a doubt, I do believe I am qualified to judge a fine quality French/European restaurant….. and TATA Restaurant is just that.


The two story TATA restaurant has a trendy and modern curb-appeal .  Inside the restaurant, the décor is warm, elegant, and inviting for aproximately 35-40 guests on the main floor.  The open kitchen is the center of attention with a generous number of chefs preparing the various courses. The serving staff is ready to greet you and they do provide great, attentive service.

Photo Courtesy of TATA Restaurant

We also had the chance to personally meet and talk to Mr. Jassway Lo, Head Chef.  He personally told me he developed his culinary skills and style working for other master chefs in Taiwan including two major hotel restaurants.

Chef Jassway Lo in his TATA Kitchen

I was not told about this restaurant just minutes prior to arriving, so I had no clue of what to expect.  Five of us were seated at the table and presented the full course menu and the ala carte menu.  One look at the full course menu peaked my appetite and I was excited about the food that would be served.  I am only showing a portion of the full course menu selections and none of the ala carte menu……these other entrees and offerings will be the extra surprises for my readers that have a chance to visit TATA.

My hosts, Calvin, Irene and Tiffany told me that Tiffany first visited TATA a few months ago with her Uncle.  The family then went back together to TATA shortly thereafter, so we all had a chance to try new items on this wonderful menu.  

The Restaraunt was full of customers

 All of my photos are courtesy of Tiffany Wen.   

We selected the following Main courses:

US Prime Rib Eye Steak:

French Tender Chicken:

Atlantic Cod Fish:

French Lamb Chops:

Also shown a generous size Pizza from the ala carte menu, that Tiffany enjoyed on her visit to TATA, and a main course from another visit that looks fabulous…...

Please take a close look at the full course menu options for Salads & Soups.  Each menu item also comes with a bread plate, a special hot plate, a sorbet to refresh the palette, fresh fruit and dessert.  And of course, they have a wide variety of refreshing drinks including wines from Chile, Europe and the USA, fresh fruit drinks, smoothies and much more.

The first course was a bread plate with a selection of bread for each individual guest.  The bread was served with butter, olive oil with Balsamic vinaigrette, and a small spoonful of chopped black truffles.  Yummy!

The second course served was our salad selection, and I ordered the Shrimp Caesar salad which was fresh and enjoyable with the highlight being a very unique and delicious salad dressing!  The Waldorf Salad and the Salad of Glazed Apples was even better!    

Waldorf Salad

 Glazed Apples & Pecans w/ Maple Balsamic Dressing and Mesculin Leaves

The third course hot plate that we were served was fried goose liver and a small serving of steamed egg with seafood.  As a special, just for us, Chef Lo prepared a second hot plate of special vegetables wrapped in calamari and bacon.  Also shown is another hot plate from Tiffany’s previous  visit which was a spoonful of vegetables and a piece of crab meat with the small serving of steamed egg.

Fried Goose Liver and Steamed Egg Hot Plate Course

......... Another Hot Plate

........and yet another Hot Plate

The fourth course, the Soup, was very special.  I ordered the Truffled Wild Mushroom Bisque but I sampled the Carrot and Ginger Soup as well as the Clam Chowder.  WOW!  All three were great, but the Truffled Wild Mushroom Bisque was simply to die for.  My only disappointment was that I wish I was served a large bowl with second and third helpings!  Sorry, in my haste to taste the soup I wish I had taken pictures of it before it was consummed!

Carrot and Ginger Cream soup

The fifth course was a refreshing lemon sorbet.  It was a little to tart for me, but it truly was perfect to cleanse my palette for the Main course to come.

For the sixth course (Main Course) I ordered the Atlantic Cod Fish since I lived in the Boston area many years and love Atlantic Cod.  The nice size serving came with a delectable scallop and large shrimp on top and tempting vegetable garnishes.  This meal was cooked to perfection, but the sauce (Ahhh Yes the SAUCE) was unique and made an usually bland tasting cod fish come to life with an explosion of flavor and yumminess. All of the other Main courses were equally delicious and cooked to perfection. 

My Atlantic Cod Main Course

The seventh course was the fruits and TATA did not disappoint.  The fruit was fresh and super sweet, unlike many other restaurants that sometimes serve un-ripened/sour fruit.

The eight course, dessert changes regularly and today they served a trio of delights including a small orange color fruit (not sure what it was) next to cheesecake and a small Ice Cream mocha.  Also shown are two other deserts from previous visits.

One of the signature items on Chef Lo’s courses is his marvelous sauces, and a brush stroke of sauce on almost every plate for presentation and taste.

Signature Brush Stroke with Main Course Vegetable Garnish

Each course came on a fast yet comfortable pace.....  and the drinks were served last.

My Kahluha Smoothie

We all agreed that TATA restaurant hit a home run for quality, taste, ambience, and service.  NO….Wait a minute, TATA actually hit a GRAND SLAM HOME RUN, and in my personal opinion, this was one of the top 25 meals I have ever been served around the world.  

I plan to visit TATA Restaurant on my next trip to Taipei, but can only hope that they are so successful that they open a similar restaurant here in California!  

The TATA Restaurant definitely deserves a place on everyone’s BUCKET LIST.

Bon Appetit !

Edward C.

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