My friend and I were both celebrating our birthdays. Traditionally, on such special occasions we try a new restaurant, and this time it was the new Asian in Tel Aviv – Taipei.
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, which I think makes for a cool restaurant name. Here in Tel Aviv it is located on Nachalat Binyamin Street, between Ehad Ha'am and Rothschild Avenue, in the vicinity of many other restaurants.
But unlike other restaurants in the area, this one is decorated in Chinese style with red tablecloth and red lampshades hanging from the ceiling (obviously, red is the luckiest color in the Chinese tradition). A bamboo fence with plants surrounds the restaurant, while a quiet patio contributes to the authenticity of the entire space.
We launched our celebrations with a Tsingtao beer and Sake, and selected our entrees. First – a crispy spring chicken salad: fried chicken in a crispy garlic tempura served on a bed of radishes, carrots and cucumbers in sesame and soy sauce. A fresh and colorful start. Taipei's menu includes a section of classic stir-fries, out of which we had beef and eggplants in a rich and elegant Hoisin sauce.
We continued with a traditional Asian dish of slow roasted spare ribs in Chinese Five-spice powder, hoisin sauce, anise flowers and sugar cane concentrate. The result was just a little bit sweet and so special.
Another great choice was the Gang Kiew Wan – a rich Thai curry dish with coconut cream, eggplants, lemongrass, basil, bamboo and mushrooms. This one was delicately spicy, while the green stew worked beautifully with the rice. As a curry fan, I can say I loved the truly exotic taste.
We had to have desserts. A coconut scoop made on the premises and served in flames was crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and coated with honey and caramel. As good as it sounds. And of course, we finished with a banana split in tempura and maple that was served with an ice cream scoop and some fruit salad. Both were impressing.
So, in conclusion: Taipei relies on a rich culinary culture while offering a quiet hide-out in hectic Tel Aviv, with a traditional design, excellent service and beautiful food. Check it out.
BTW: other than birthdays with your best friend, Taipei is available for private parties of up to 50 guests.