I was craving Mainland Chinese cuisine.
Darren suggested Eat At Taipei at JCube. Sure, it wasn’t Mainland Chinese, but I could thoroughly understand his reservations, so I wasn’t too insistent.
Despite the apparent popularity of bubble tea and certain street foods, Taiwanese cuisine has never been quite well received here. Styled like a street-side eatery complete with fanciful signboards, Eat At Taipei is appearing to challenge that notion, for now. When we arrived, queues were snaking around this latest fad, eager to grab a taste of Taipei. However, despite a colorful, informative menu, it didn’t quite impress. To the uninitiated, it was just a hosh posh of food that simply didn’t make sense – soups with silly names and random dishes strung together with the seriously out-of-place bento sets with unfamiliar ingredients – there was just no soul or identity. Of course, everybody knows first impressions aren’t always indicative, so I thought I’d let the food speak for itself. Unfortunately, the food needs an ambassador because it wasn’t doing anything for me. Items on the menu were simply generally overpriced, particularly since the flavors and quality are generally boring and mediocre, which is disappointing mostly because Eat At Taipei is one of the mall’s poster child for new-to-market concepts.
From the offset, the dominoes just continued their cascade into failure one after another. The Caramel Bubble Tea was quite the shocker. I mean, there were simply no words to describe how bad it was, other than to say, even KOI, Gong Cha and Sweet Talk does it better. The Chinese, whether its Mainland Chinese or Chinese Taipei, do a mean boiled soup – it’s quite literally, the hallmark of the Chinese cuisine, really, and the Si Shen Soup (The Four Gods Soup) was a measly train wreck with a hot liquid reeking of Chinese wine. The disaster continues through the Beef Noodle Soup, which was uninteresting and overwhelmingly unremarkable – you could easily find something of this quality at a food court, and considering it’s more expensive than Din Tai Fung’s much superior version, it’s a little demanding. Don’t mistake me for the guy who pours cold water everything because I really wanted it to work, particularly the Coffin Toast which we shared.