Sunday, May 26, 2024

the mind blowing logy

Our short trip to Taiwan was about eating and drinking as much as about concert-going - well, almost. But with us focusing on Taipei alone we got time to visit a few of the best restaurants in town, places that I have always wanted to try.  

Among those places, logy was definitely top of my list. The young Chef Ryogo Tahara moved to Taipei to open logy (normally styled in all lowercase) a few years ago after spending time at Tokyo's Florilege working under Chef Hiroyasu Kawate. Within the first year of opening (2019), the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, followed by a second one just 2 years later. They are also a regular at the Asia's 50 best Restaurants award, being ranked 22 this year, the highest ranking for restaurants in Taiwan. 

It’s next to impossible trying to get one of the 26 spots available at the restaurant. (13 in a single seating and they did 2 seatings every day) They are often fetched up minutes after they became available for booking exactly 30 days in advance in their online reservation system. For us, let's just say we are very grateful that Chef Ryogo-san cleared us off the waitlist for 2 early dinner spots just before we flew over to Taipei. 

The restaurant sat in a quiet residential neighborhood with a long and tall granite façade (with the restaurant logo engraved). Through the small door on the side we were led into the open kitchen with an L-Shaped Bar where every one was seated. I do like the intimate setting with dimmed lighting and everyone got a perfect view of the kitchen actions from their seat. Before our meal began, the server came over and gave us a brief intro to the restaurant and the menu format. That’s when I came to know why they are called logy and how it’s related to the style Chef Ryogo is trying to convey through his cooking.

No written menu was provided (before, during or after the meal) but all the dishes were explained to us in details while they were presented. We kicked off with a small canape of beetroot tartlet with sesame and perilla leaf, with the earthy flavor plus a hint of refreshing herbal aftertaste. The bloc of tofu looked simple but the hint of sweet honey flavor with clear consommé-like clarified tomato water and whey gave this cold appetizer an interesting flavor profile, along with caviar and toasted pine nuts on top. 

Tuna (chu-toro) was served like a roll with yam and sea grapes, a thin sheet of roselle jelly on top and ponzu sauce plus wasabi flower as garnishes. There’s a bit of everything – minerality, sweetness, acidity, floral aroma and umami – works like a fine wine. Mud crab chawanmushi is the restaurant’s signature dish, and iconic really, capturing all logy is about. The silky egg custard was at the bottom of a small porcelain tea cup with dollop of picked mud crab meat. On top was an angelica 當歸 icecream with the distinct Chinese medicinal flavor. The intense and warm consommé (with a hint of goji berries) was poured on top just as it’s served to give this a rich flavor and hot-and-cold sensation on the palate. It’s truly a Taiwanese x French x Japanese dish that’s well thought of and well executed. 

The "risotto" was prepared with sticky rice, topped with slices of saba, slightly smoked with hay and served with dashi, red wine vinegar and toasted hazelnuts. There’s a good combination of different textures, and I love the smoke and nut aroma and flavor. Then a piece of Amadai was served tempura-style; on top was a warm salad with tarragon, asparagus and endives, and underneath, beurre blanc and clam juice. The slightly fermented flavor in the vegetables and herbs plus the acidity in the sauce worked perfectly well with the piece of fatty fish with a delicate crispy batter. 

Main course was Omi Wagyu. The piece has a nice marbling and it’s served with wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, broccolini and a demi-glace with radish, shiitake, jus and a touch of miso. The accompaniment reminded me of Japanese sansai (mountain vegetables) that gave a slightly bitter hint and the sauce was heavenly with rich but comforting flavor. 

Desserts were served in the form of four separate courses – first the granita with a mild cheese icecream and dehydrated peach crisp on top, followed by the Sakura mochi with lily bulb filling (and wrapped in a cured Sakura leaf for a hint of savory taste) The Chamomile ice cream was the most interesting one, with a light drizzle of honey and a yoghurt-based sauce with white asparagus and lavender. The slight acidity and the floral aroma from the lavender did give a nice flavor of springtime. Ai yu, an unique Taiwanese ingredient, was presented in its original form, and served as jelly (through a lengthy preparation process) with coconut jelly. 

The reputation of Kevin their head somm certainly precedes him as we heard from many friends that he offered one of the most impressive drink pairings. The risotto was a bit too rich on its own but with the nice bottle of chardonnay (from Long Island New York, in all places) it’s perfectly balanced. Other bottles we enjoyed including a Blanc de Blancs from Kent, England to start, the cult-like white from Mahina, Spain (using Palomino Fino/Listan grapes), a few more whites (including the chardonnay I mentioned earlier), a Brunello (familiar flavor but well-aged) and finishing with an off-dry Tokaji (with just the right amount of sweetness for the desserts). 

We came with high expectations (naturally, with all the accolades and glowing comments from friends) and the team delivered above and beyond. I did enjoy watching all the kitchen actions throughout the evening – felt like everyone is working in such harmony, like an orchestra playing a symphony, yet only a few words were spoken. Before the meal we were reminded that the early dinner session (which started at 5:30 and finished before 7:30pm) could be a bit tighter in terms of pace but not a moment did we feel being rushed through the courses. That required perfect execution and precision, and they delivered just that. I love it and would love to try Chef Ryogo-san’s food again, whether be at this restaurant or at one of the collaboration meals he has while on tour (well, I heard he’s going to be in Hong Kong a few months later so I can’t wait for that)

More photos here:

When? April 12 2024
Where? logy, No 6 Section 1 Lane 109, Anhe Road, Da'an District, Taipei
Menu Highlights? Mud Crab, Chawanmushi, Angelica Ice-Cream
2018 Gusborune Estate Blanc de Blancs, Kent, England
2022 Club Contubernio Blanco de Mahina, Spain
2022 Clos Bellane Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas
2019 Paumanok North Fork of Long Island Chardonnay, New York, USA
2020 Movia Rebula Ribolla, Brda, Slovenia
2009 Tenuta la Fuga Brunello di Montalcino, Italy
2018 Budahazy Tokaji Kabar, Hungary

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