Located on the top floor (level 31) of the luxurious W Taipei is YEN Chinese Restaurant (紫艷中餐廳) which serves up contemporary dim sum (as well as traditional ones with an alternative take) by Chef Wo Hoi Ming. The Hong Kong chef who possesses Michelin-starred culinary experience marries the best of Chinese cooking with innovative presentation to create delicious and modern dishes that are both visually and gastronomically stunning.
Perched on Level 31 of the W Taipei, YEN Chinese Restaurant offers expansive views of the Taipei City. In fact, if you are thinking about going up to the Starbucks in Taipei 101 for a view, you are much better off here - you are obviously going to be spending more but at least it is going to be a really good meal and there is not time limit on the duration you can spend up there. Next to YEN Chinese Restaurant is actually a bar that offers an equally impressive view of the surroundings - there are two semi-private rooms here that offer a direct view of the Taipei 101.
The first dish I sampled here at YEN Chinese Restaurant is the Custard Bun with Egg Yolk (NT$ 180+ for 3 Pieces). It is definitely worth noting that the name of these dishes in Chinese is a lot more lively and funny - the English translations do not do it justice. When you look past the quirky names, the dim sum quality here is actually quite impressive. Dressed to look like mushrooms, these buns are filled with a delicious custard (or 'liu sha') that has the right consistency and flavours.
YEN Chinese Restaurant also uses a mix of locally-sourced ingredients - the Formosa Mushroom Dumplings (NT$ 180+ for 3 Pieces) here features wild native mushrooms and vegetables that are found here. The handmade translucent skin has a really good texture and the flavours inside the dumpling were delicate with the right amount of crunch from the mushrooms.
Resembling miniature lotus roots, the Fried Turnip Shreds with Cheese (NT$ 210+ for 3 Pieces) is basically molten cheese wrapped in a delicious filo pastry. As I have mentioned earlier, the names of dishes in Chinese is a lot more impressive and funny. I love how the thin pastry breaks apart effortlessly and how it is not oily at all.
My favourite dish at YEN Chinese Restaurant is probably the Wok-fried Beef Tenderloin, Bi Feng Tang Style (NT980+). I have first encountered the 'Bi Feng Tang' style of cooking when I tasted the Chinese New Year menu at the Conrad Centennial Singapore earlier this year. The beef tenderloin is tender and flavourful and the 'Bi Feng Tang' style provided the tenderness with a contrast in textures and flavours.
The Pan-fried Pork Dumplings (NT$ 210+ for 3 Pieces) has an interesting presentation - they are located under the 'web' and they are best eating with some vinegar on the side.
YEN Chinese Restaurant also serves up a number of vegetable (and mushroom) dishes - if you can't quite decide on which one to go for, the Wok-fried Seasonal Vegetables (NT$ 480+) offers a variety of fresh vegetables. I love the addition of the fresh black fungus as it gave the dish a nice crunch.
If I had to pick my second favourite, it would definitely have to be the Rice Noodle with Clam and Luffa in Superior Braised Lobster Stock (NT$ 580 per Person) - cooked in a flavourful lobster broth, the handmade rice noodles (more locally known as 'Mee Tai Bak' or Silver Needle Noodles) and the huge clam are soaked in the delicious broth. The soup is extremely comforting to drink (it was also drizzling on the day that I was dining there so plus points for that) and is definitely a measure of the chef's culinary skills.