mylifestylenews

2014-06-10

CHECK-IN TAIPEI in SOHO Hong Kong


There is almost non Taiwanese food in Central/SOHO neighborhood until CHECK-IN TAIPEI makes its entrance to the block. The name is easy to remember but yet do not expect any food that serve here relating to any airlines' meal. On the contrary, CHECK-IN TAIPEI redefines Taiwanese culinary from its infamous street food to a brand new level of sophistication and to tantalize your taste buds through its delicately crafted food and drinks. The idea of the name is also to make you feel at home the moment you step in this 38 seats, 1200 square feet "home".  All the elements in each dish and beverage are prepared in-house with ingredients sourced fresh locally and from Taiwan to ensure authentic tastes. You got to love the name of "Taiwanese Drinks Architect" who leverage their expertise to master distinctive touch and delicacy to the avant-garde food and drinks together with the young chef whose culinary creativity was established since age 16 with reputable experiences working at L'Atelier de Joe Robuchon. The food menu is tastefully segmented into four sections: innovative morsels that defy tradition, veggie dishes that celebrate the taste of nature, back to basics that keep you satisfied, and luscious desserts to wrap up the meal perfectly on a sweet note. The venue exudes a contemporary and vibrant atmosphere where the simple décor that reflect the individual colors of Taiwanese culture.



Drinking bubble tea in any Taiwanese eateries is no stranger to anyone, "Drinks Architect" Shin Chiu is specializing in the art of fusing tea with alcohol as well as additions such as pearls, egg pudding and ai-yu jelly, all of which are handcrafted and made with natural ingredients for a healthy and unique touch to your beverage sensation. Besides, this destination claims that they are the first in Hong Kong to feature Taiwanese tea liquor in their elusive cocktails so that each sip you take has a delicately fragrant tea aroma dwelling in the aftertaste. The in-house signature & exclusive tea <Ai-Yu Lemon Green> which is the Taiwan Jade Green Tea with fresh lemon juice, homemade pure cane sugar syrup and Ai-Yu Jelly. A classic Taiwanese drink delicately crafted to brighten up your whole day with inspiration. An ideal summer drinks in this humid summer. <Winter Melon Pudding Slush> is made from the traditional roasted melon tea, Taiwan brown sugar Syrup, homemade egg pudding and brown sugar pearls. This original and house special, infuses Taiwan household brand FENGYI’s winter melon tea slush with homemade silky egg pudding and fresh mini pearls. The triple caramel and astounding textures can be quite addictive if you are fond on Taiwanese style of cold tea.


<Oyster Duet>
The classic oyster pancake is recreated as a lavish tasting duet with complementing textures: crispy oyster croquette with rich oyster soup. The Chef stir fries the oysters in oyster sauce, Chinese chives and onion then mixes it with mashed potatoes. To highlight the Asian touch, the oyster soup is served in a teapot with tea cup. Caution! This may not do well to non-seafood diners.

<Mushroom Forest>
 Four types of mushrooms (Shiitake, white, Portobello, reishi) are sautéed in truffle cream and fried mushrooms (coated in potato starch to maintain the earthy flavour and juiciness) are added for the extra crunch topped with a 63-degree organic egg to compliment the dish. This mood food is a delight.


<Chicken & Waffles>
The infamous Taiwanese salty crispy chicken is placed on top of the homemade fluffy mini waffle. The East-Meet-West creation is highlighted with pineapple chutney and maple glaze while the garlic, ginger, basil, red cluster pepper, five spice powder and black sesame oil marinade gives the dish a special kick. To be frank, this fusion creation is little too ambitious as we rather to consume the chicken, waffle and the pineapple chutney separately. 

<Ping Pong>
This playful presentation is a recreation from the traditional Taiwanese sweet potato balls with a stuffed mochi and parmesan cheese filling on a ping pong racquet. Sweeter, richer and nutritious, the melted cheese filling encapsulated inside a chewy mochi core. The boiled, mashed yams are deep fried at low heat then gradually heated up to make the balls crispy on the outside and extremely chewy on the inside. It is best served as a warm dessert instead.



<Fish N’ Squid>
Off the norm, Check-in Taipei’s handcrafted Fish N’ Squid sticks are complemented with a specially prepared sweet plum dip (plum powder, Thai sweet chili sauce and honey). Made from sole fillet and squid, the ingredients are punctuated with plum and chili powder then deep fried to form the golden crust. It ain't so much of surprises in this creation.


<C.I.T. Noodles>
The traditional braised pork rice is redefined with not only their special house braised meat sauce and serve with a spaghetti version (It was a penne instead). The tender pork belly slices with braised pork meat in a 50-50 ratio are stewed in a distinctive sauce consisting of an array of Chinese herbs including Chinese anise, fruit peels, tsao-ko, Sichuan pepper, Chinese cinnamon, liquorice root and rock sugar. Once again top with a 63 degree organic egg that pulls all the flavours together. A traditional humble home cooking savory turned into a distinctive dish.



<Tofu of An-ping> 
Soybean milk, Taiwan hometown high-mountain tea liqueur, homemade winter melon syrup, almond tofu, Baileys Irish cream liqueur and Oolong tea is the main ingredient pioneering this first dessert cocktail. Impressive presentation to crave.



<Mochi-Yaki>
Hakka Lei-Cha, crushed peanuts, rum, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur and honey 
original and first ever, honey roasted mochi to match this creamy rich cocktail. 

<101 Fireworks> 
It is certainly a show-off cocktail from the Flaming Lamborghini inspired. 70% Absinthe, Taiwan hometown high-mountain tea liquor, Blue Curacao, fresh pineapple juice, Shy-jih-chuen tea named after Taipei’s iconic 101 landmark. This flaming pineapple tower comes pre-lit for excitement. Another gimmick to get amused.


We went back with some foodies after being overwhelmed by its innovation culinary in a party of five. Unfortunately, most of the food served comes in only four serving per dish in a mouth full size. We asked for an extra portion and ready to pay for it but the inflexibility of the service responds required us to order another full dish in order to have a fair equal share among the five of us. That would add up to 8 serve for each dish order. It was definitely a NO NO especially for new diners who intend to explore the menu respectively as it only ed to a total disappointment with frustration.



Tried + Tested
Ambience : 3.5/5
Food : 3.5.5
Service : 2/5

Check-In Taipei
G/F, 27 Hollywood Road, 
Central (Intersection of Cochrane Street)
Hong Kong                                
Tel: +852 2351 2622