Silks House is the fine dining Szechuan and Cantonese restaurant at The Regent Taipei; the interior fuses a mix of traditional calligraphy and contemporary design which feels graceful, fresh and modern.
Every now and then we eat a meal that makes us really excited. We often know it’s going to be one of those memorable meals a short way in to it and by the time we polish off dessert and leave, we’re full of smiles and passing compliments on to the chef and the rest of the restaurant staff.
Our vegan meal at Silks House, their regular vegan set menu, was definitely one of those experiences and we left not only full of delicious food but also full of the joys of life (eating really good food has this effect on us).
It wasn’t just the fact that we ate things that we’d never tried before, it was the flavours. So many flavours, so many textures; things that were delightful to the eyes as well as to our tastebuds.
The Vegan Food:
Our Szechuan and Cantonese vegan food adventure began with the mysteriously named ‘appetiser combination’ which actually turned out to be a line of delicious smelling food arranged across our plate.
It started with a spicy herbal salad that was seasoned to perfection, then moved on to another salad of smoked tofu matchsticks tossed with crunchy vegetables. Then there was a seaweed salad comprising of tiny plants and a smoky sweet chilli sauce that packed a huge and satisfying heat. The end of the line was made up of a tofu skin roll stuffed with vegetables and two thick slices of creamy avocado, all covered in a spicy, fruity sweet and sour sauce.
After the success of the starter, the next course was a defining point in the meal. Traditionally anything made with silken tofu is hard to pull off in our book, with there being a high risk of producing something that feels like a bowl of sloppy egg white. However, this beautiful delicate silken tofu flower was not only a visual joy, with it’s tendrils of tofu floating in the clear liquid soup, but it tasted good too.
Spoonful after spoonful of light, smooth broth with creamy, custard like tofu that melted when eaten; we finished off every last mouthful.
Next we were treated to sweet and crunchy asparagus stems, that were covered in a sesame sauce, with pieces of lily bulb that tasted like delicate flakes of water chestnut. The sesame emulsion was smooth and rich and full of umami as well as nutty sesame and an added sweetness; absolutely delicious.
The food just kept getting better and better and the next course of sautéed pumpkin slathered in a sticky spicy sauce, with a Taiwanese bun, a dash of purple yam and a single sweet, sour, preserved tomato was lip smacking-ly good. The bun was soft, a little sweet and great for mopping up the sauce. There were multiple layers to the taste of the dish; sweet, sour, perfumed, spiced and spicy and the addition of a slice of the preserved tomato instantly changed the flavour profiles making previously sweet pumpkin cubes into soft savoury bites.
All so very tasty and so very clever.
We have no idea how the chef managed to pack so much flavour into the next dish, which was laden with fresh vegetables and crunchy water chestnuts. A layer of dressed sprouts full of mustardy horseradish flavour and a sour dressing sat underneath a lettuce bowl full of fresh peas, water chestnuts, sesame, carrot and decadent, fried youtiao that had been sliced up and tossed in like indulgent little croutons. The combination of the flavours and textures was like a sensory overload; how was this possible from one little salad?
Taiwan is famous for it’s noodles and this simple noodle dish showcased them perfectly. Wide and fat, slippery yet almost doughy and chewy all at the same time, they had been wok fried with mushrooms, crunchy beansprouts and spring onion to give that distinctive flavour; a truly comforting plate of food to eat.
Our final course allowed us to sample another Taiwanese classic, often eaten at breakfast but actually well suited to dessert as well. It was a bowl of warm almond milk, whose sweet marzipan aroma wafted up tempting us to drink it. Accompanied by youtiao (Chinese donuts) to dip into the warm milk like a crispy, crunchy fried straw that soaked up the sweet milk; it’s no wonder that the Taiwanese love this dish or that we fell for it to.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Make a reservation at Silks House for a vegan meal that will blow you away with a whole mix of flavours, textures and ingredients. Vegan foodies will feel well at home here as course after course of flavour packed food arrives at your table giving you a chance to sample the flavours and delights of vegan Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine in one perfect fusion meal.
We were guests of Silks House but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Zhongshan N Rd,
Telephone: +(886 2)25231387
Opening Times: Lunch 1130-1430 Dinner 1730-1930