Taipei 101 85F-1
No. 7, Sec. 5, Xinyi Rd.
Dining date: 2/9/14
Shin Yeh is a restaurant that I came across a lot in preparation for my visit to Taipei from friends, bloggers and various news articles. It offers an upscale take on Taiwanese food and the restaurant group has a number of locations in Taipei, Singapore and Beijing. The best views, and one of the nicer ambiances, is at this one on the 85th floor of Taipei 101. While the original location (also in Taipei) is cheaper, this figured to be a unique opportunity to dine at (or near) the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world.
Window tables carried a higher minimum charge per person (1800TWD/~60USD) than interior tables (1200TWD/~40USD); I’m not sure the window was worth it on this drizzly evening. A lot of condensation on the windows blurred the view considerably. Still, it was impressive how high we were dining given the buildings below looked so short in comparison (and were pretty tall in their own right).
Shin Yeh offers a few different fixed menus, but we went with a la carte to pinpoint specific dishes.
Clear Broth with Bamboo Pith and Seafood Balls
The meal began with this light, refined broth with vegetables and small seafood balls.
Our second in a duo of soups was this heartier one with chunks of chicken; very savory and comforting.
Fresh Spring Roll Filled with Cabbage, Bean Sprouts and Peanut Powder
An upscale version of the notable Taiwanese dish, the spring roll featured a myriad of textures from the crisp vegetables, crunch of peanuts and delicate exterior noodle. Flavors were vegetal and earthy, well-balanced.
Three Cups Chicken wok-seared chicken with basil and ginger in clay pot
Another famous Taiwanese dish, the chicken was smothered in a rich and sticky sauce with a lot of depth. Slightly sweet, very savory. The chunks of chicken from the breast were a bit overcooked though – I thought the execution should’ve been perfect in this dish.
Fresh Seasonal Greens a-choy
Sauteed greens were simple and added a healthy balance to our meal.
Sweet Potato Rice Porridge
The primary starch came in the form of this glutinous rice porridge. Very thick with creamy sweet potato interspersed.
Steamed Roe Crab steamed with Chinese herbs
These crabs seemed curiously rather devoid of roe and a lot of work for little bits of meat. The flavor was good, but a real disappointment.
Red Spotted Grouper steamed with scallion
The grouper, however, was excellent. The fish was cooked perfectly, delicate, moist and with a lot of flavor. One of the best steamed fish preparations I’ve had.
Sweetened Almond Tofu with Peach in Syrup
We finished with something sweet with the almond tofu complemented very well by the peaches.
Shin Yeh was an interesting meal. There were some high ‘highs’ and some low ‘lows’ but most of the food was pretty good. I really appreciated the opportunity to try an upscale, slightly more refined Taiwanese experience to complement all of the street food I’d been eating. Given all of the very cheap, good street food Taipei offers, I don’t think the service and execution quite justified the price. Granted, part of the high price point was attributable to the experience of dining on the 85th floor of this building. Service was like the food – there were elements that seemed aligned to the upscale environment, as well as elements that made me feel like I was in any other Chinese/Taiwanese restaurant. Still, a unique experience…but I wouldn’t need to do this again next time I’m in Taiwan.