Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Taiwan Food Diary: Dinner at Mr Onion

Traveling is always everyone's favorite hobby; getting out there to see the other parts of the world and enjoying a taste of the local culture (and their cuisines too!). While time, and of course money are always the two biggest factors making up the equation in the consideration, it is still a wonderful experience and have we not heard enough from all the people out there who have been there and done that, telling us that there is no excuse and that we should just go for it and get ourselves out there.
It is truly a deal which returns more than the giving, and changes our lives in many different ways that we could ever imagine.

I am an avid traveler; for both business and leisure, and it does not matter where the destination could be, it is always, to me, an eye-opening experience. Okay, I am not exactly the rough-it-out kind of girl and perhaps more inclined towards the comfort-type of traveler, I still did enjoy most part of my travels :-)

My recent trip to Taiwan; mainly Taipei quickly filled my travel and food diary to the brim; bursting with their stories and flavors to be shared and I really can't wait to just get it all out here in the blog to be shared with all of you.
While Taiwan is one of the most common destination for many (I mean, I think half of you guys out there have been to Taiwan?) and is also known for the variety of food, particularly in the street department, I have also come to notice the myriad of international cuisines available in the country.
It is no different from our own country either, and I am not surprised that most of the locals can be found mostly in those international fare-based restaurants compared to their local Taiwanese restaurants; such as Japanese (mostly in Ximending), Korean, Italian, American, and the list goes on.
It really does bring back to mind the truth in the saying of "The grass is always greener on the other side"

I find it compelling(and a little frustrating too) that I have to admit that it was harder to search for a localized version of a Taiwanese restaurant, serving authentic local flavors compared to a international cuisine restaurant. I could only think of two reasons like, either I was searching in the wrong place, or the locals are not too keen on their everyday flavors from home to want to pay their way for the same food again?

Whichever it is, that was how I ended up in a Western franchise restaurant on my first night of arrival for a late dinner. Of course, there was also a reason for the simple celebration and it helped that there was this restaurant so close to our hotel, that we just decided to dine in.

Mr Onion can be considered a local Western restaurant, started by the locals back in the 1991 and have been winning awards for their cuisines for a couple of years.
They serve a rather modest variety of main courses; salads, appetizers, soups, desserts and even beverages. There are also combination of sets where a main course comes with a soup, salad, appetizer, a dessert and even a drink, all priced at the price of the main course selected ( I think, probably with only a couple of dollars more). It was a pretty good bargain for a meal.

The restaurant was decorated with a rather charming style of interjecting the rustic charms of an English cottage with a light touch of classic sophistication. It was just simple; nothing too fancy, yet it brings out that vintage feel in the ambiance that makes one feel relaxed and at the same time, comfortable (of course). It is no wonder there were groups of friends and youngsters spotted at most of tables in the restaurant. I would say Mr Onion had more of a diner-style in the presentation which makes it approachable and reasonable to the casual dining preferred by most of the younger generation.

Perhaps it had something to do with the lighting, and maybe their choice of fabric in their tablecloths? I am not sure about you, I sure am a fan of checkered patterns; especially when they are in classic colors~ ^_^

The Chef's Salad (TWD$110)
A combination of a slice honeydew melon, watermelon, cherry tomato, lettuce and shreds of cabbage served with a French vinaigrette dressing.

Appetizer was this Smoked Salmon (TWD$80)
I don't need to repeat, I am a fan of smoked salmon, wherever I go! (provided, they need to be really good and fresh, and not in a pile of gooey mess).
This is approved, really good, though a rather meagre slice in the serving, but for the price, it was still good :-)

Garlic Bread (TWD$20)

Seafood Tomato Broth (TWD$110)
I cannot begin to say how much I enjoyed this; with the light sourish taste of the broth to the generous amounts of seafood (fresh prawns, squid rings, clams) in it.
It was really a good and honestly portioned bowl of broth considering that it was part of the set, yet there was no compromise on the portion and the quality. I am impressed, and may I say, good job on the customer satisfaction.

Grilled herb crusted salmon (Price N/A)
Portion was not too big; and right for a modest eater, though may not be sufficient for the regular diner. However, taste wise, I have no complaint, as though I may be a big fan of salmon, I take my grilled salmon very seriously and especially when it comes to herb crusts.
I would say it wasn't exceptionally outstanding, but they didn't fail in succeeding this dish.
(Gosh, now this photo is stirring that craving for salmon all over again, and I just got over it two days ago!)

The raw/steamed vegetables served on the side.

Grilled Chicken with Mushroom Gravy (TWD$450)
This was just as good as it looked/sounded, but they could do with a little more of the mushroom gravy for the portion of the chicken served.

The dessert selected was Tiramisu; not that we are big fans but because most of the other choices had ran out. Bummer, but still, the Tiramisu was not too bad to its reputation either.

A little touch of art on the side of the tiramisu.

Did I also not mention the set comes with a drink from the menu selection?
Our Calpis and Cranberry Mix
(I am sorry, I am just not a fan of this, somehow it just tasted wrong to me and reminded me of some cough mixture, but that's probably just me?)

Overall, I must say I was rather pleased with my first dinner in Taipei, and Mr Onion did well in welcoming us with the reasonably priced and proportioned servings in their diner restaurant.
I enjoyed my dinner and it helped that their service was quite good; I appreciate the patience shown by the servers who took time to explain to us newbies on the ordering and the menu when we first sat down and we did not have to resort to chimpanzee techniques half the time to get their attention as they were always on the alert.
That, is more than what pleases a customer, don't you think?


  1. i'd love to visit Taiwan! looks so authentic! love smoked salmon too!

  2. sprinkleandsauce, why, you should then! ;-) I'm sure you've been to many wonderful places yourself...the world is just so big as it is as small as we sometimes view it :-D
    Smoked salmon rocks!~