I’m so thankful to a lovely friend of mine for inviting me to a tasting evening at Taipei Dao. I’d never heard of this restaurant before which is now situated in Southridge Tower #4 in Downtown Dubai; a) even though it had been open for 5 months already and b) it had a been a long standing restaurant in Dubai but previously located in Healthcare City.The restaurant has a modern Asian twist in terms of design and is broken down into 3 parts; the restaurant, a bakery and a grocery store. You’d be surprised to know this restaurant does not serve any white rice which the owner likes to call ‘dead rice’. Instead they serve a variety of germinated brown rice which is better for your insides. Taipei Dao also caters for Gluten Free.
The owner, a lovely lady named Felice, is so passionate about what she does. The grocery items for sale (which are also used in the restaurant for cooking) are all hand picked and imported from Taiwan. This includes a range of tea, organic brown rice, vinegars etc. None of their food contains any MSG. They make all of their sauces used in their dishes in house and they also use a deep sea salt which means it’s in it’s purest form but also free from any pollution. They don’t do any advertising as they believe the food will speak for itself. Or the patrons will speak for the food. I, myself haven’t stopped raving it about it since my last visit.
The drinks: Taipei Dao’s shelves and menu has so many varieties of tea that you will be spoilt for choice. They even have a dedicated tea master tasting area. On my visit I chose to drink a black bubble tea with milk and chewy tapioca pearls. Enjoyable but filling so beware on drinking too much too soon and not leaving enough room for the food. However the pu-erh xiao tuo cha tea we had between dishes helps to aid digestion as does the shot of lavender vinegar we had post food, both of which are available for purchase from their in-house store.
The starters: A mixture of steamed dumplings, beef pan fried dumplings, a hot and sour soup (which you won’t find on the menu but can request as a special) and oriental spring onion pancake served with a homemade soy based sauce – very addictive.
Favorites included: The almond and prawn spring rolls with pineapple and the seafood cake. The almond and prawn spring roll was a new concept to me. Coated in almond flakes making the coating extra crunchy whilst the sweet pineapple addition inside is a nice contrast against the chunky prawn filling. The seafood cakes are like giant pan fried dumplings with combination of seafood inside. Just delicious!
The mains: We were served a mixture of hot and cold main course dishes. The cold dishes included slices of chicken and goose served with fresh strips of ginger. One of my favorites was the pineapple fruity prawn. Firstly the presentation was impressive, served in half a pineapple, garnished with cleverly designed vegetables but the flavor and quality of the ingredients was superb. The beef stew served in a hot pot was another. Having been steamed for hours which keeps the texture of the beef together the tenderness alone is something not to be missed as is the gorgeous gravy it is based in. However it was the well executed hammour in ginger which stole the show for me. Delicate, fresh and flavorsome. I secretly wished I didn’t have to share it. Highly recommended.
The dessert: It may look like a regular chocolate fondant but it was anything but. Made with 50% whole wheat and 70% cocoa and served with a pomelo and kumquat home made ice cream which created an intersting flavor contrast between dark chocolate and citrus.
Takeaway: We were given the choice to take home some freshly baked treats from the in-house bakery. I chose the spring onion roll which I ate the next day. I devoured it so quickly I was tempted to drive downtown immediately for more. Full of flavor. I’ll be picking some up on my next visit for sure.
For all those dumpling lovers you’d be please to know that Taipei Dao offers ‘all you can eat’ dumplings every Friday and Saturday for lunch & dinner for just 98AED! What a steal. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.
Opening hours: 12-3 pm, 6:30-10:30pm
Address: Southridge Tower 4, Downtown Dubai, Dubai
Phone number: 04 4510694