Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gen Creative

We followed our friend and fellow Instagrammer deeseebeaucoup's IG post and booked for dinner at this casual Taiwanese restaurant called Gen Creative. This 2-year-old restaurant was often mentioned as one of those new establishments following the latest trend of combining western cuisine with local ingredients.

According to their website, the restaurant specializes in New American Cuisine. With the partnership of 3 chefs (Eric, Hansong and Melanie - and I believe they have added the fourth lately after our visit) with 3 different nationalities (Taiwanese, Guatemalan and Korean), the menu was diversified and drew inspirations from around the world but using Taiwanese ingredients as much as possible. Combination of ingredients were creative with bold flavor – very much reminded me of Momofuku but then the dishes were unique in style. Everything was served family style (or American portion, whatever way you want to put it) and categorized into Snacks, Earth, Sea, Land and Sweets sections. The staff patiently walked us through the menu and the restaurant concept, and suggested we ordered one from each category to share among the two of us.

We had a glance of the dishes coming out of the kitchen, and decided we will start slow with 3 courses first before deciding on whether to order more. We started with a small bowl pumpkin espuma with cucumber, apple and guava mousse topped with a deep-fried dumpling as our amuse bouche, which worked well as a refreshing palate cleanser with some contrasting texture. Next was the first course we ordered, which was the beef tendons. The piece was puffy crisp and topped with the smoky paprika powder and mayo on the side. I suspect it's prepared just like pork crackling, with the tendon pressed and double-fried for the unique crunchy texture. It did make perfect bar snacks.

We went for the Pancake in the “Earth” section, and it’s a beautiful, colorful dish, with the Korean-style pancake wrapped with spinach and finely shredded cabbage in the middle, then on top was a fried egg sunny-side up (from local free-range chicken), dried seaweed and sesame sprinkles, and underneath was a feisty gojujang sauce. We did like the flavor presented – not the most creative combinations, but worked well.

Our main course of Bossam followed the same Korean trait (not intentional but that’s the way it was) with Pingtung Pork belly (from south of Taiwan) cooked on the grill and sliced thick with soybean paste-based saam dip served underneath, and on a separate bowl was a number of raw vegetables (cucumber, carrots), kimchi (white radish, cabbages) and crispy lettuce used as wrapper and filling. The pork belly has good fat and with rich meaty flavor, which worked in balance with the various types of vegetables.

After the main course we knew there’s no way we could get another savory dish so we went straight to dessert. The option of soufflé sounds intriguing but that’s already too filling for us, so we went for the pear dessert which sounds like the lightest, with a slice of deconstructed pear cake with pear sorbet, honey icecream (made from local honey) and a dab of soft robiola cheese. And we also had the petit fours – a small scope of “almond tea” icecream (a play of the local sweet almond soup dessert) and a giant “fortune cookie” stuffed with a word of wisdom and our check. How cute.

We had a great view of all the kitchen action from our seats. Not a lot of words were spoken but the team worked in such harmony. Eric the one managing the pass made sure the dish was delivered in perfect condition and occasionally stepped in for the preparation of cold dishes (or even drying the plates if needed to); Melanie was at the pastry section dealing with the desserts, and Hansong was at the back handling all things grilled. It was a busy Saturday evening with the place full, but staff was friendly and attentive, which is always a plus to our dining experience.

We needed to clear up some of our wine stock so we brought our own bottle in this time. The Burgundy worked just fine with the dish – medium-bodied with solid ripe red fruits on the palate and smooth tannin. Did well with the Korean dishes with the strong taste.

The meal and the restaurant was a solid thumbs up for me.

When? October 28 2017
Where? Gen Creative, No. 24, Lane 63, Section 2, Dunhua S Road, Da'an District Taipei City, Taiwan
Menu Highlights? Bossam – Pork Belly, Ssam Dip, Cucumber, Kimchi
Drink? 2008 Domaine Louis Latour Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaut Saint-Jacques”

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