Dinner – Friday, November 29, 2019
Hiroyosu Kawate’s Florilège is one of my favourite restaurants in Tokyo, so when we were planning our trip to Taipei, a visit to its sister restaurant logy was a must-do. Ryogo Tahara worked under Kawate for three years before opening the Taiwanese outpost last November. The two kitchens could be mistaken for twins, with near-identical layouts – down to the floral displays on the counters! As Kawate mans the meat station at Florilège, so to does Tahara at logy. I was seated at the L-shaped counter (again, an echo of its sibling) and the tasting menu promptly began.
Fromage blanc, ikura, you tiao, maitake dashi
Aerated pumpkin purée was piped over a slice of you tiao (i.e. Chinese cruller) and the other components. This was such a perfect blend of different cultures, capturing the restaurant’s philosophy. A smashing opener.
Persimmon, yuzu jelly, cloud ear mushrooms, pickled ginger
I haven’t had hokkigai (surf clam) in quite some time, so this was a real treat. I loved the contrast of its texture with the cloud ear mushrooms. The persimmon purée and yuzu jelly added sweetness and acidity, which was grounded by a drizzle of hojicha oil.
Five spice, sweet chili, Thai basil, burnt calamansi, black garlic mayonnaise
A riff on Taiwanese fried chicken, the scales of the amadai were perfectly crisp, with a light texure. The instructions were to squeeze the burnt calamansi over the dish, brightening up the ingredients and balancing the heavy mayo. Delicious.
Taiwanese mud crab chawanmushi
Goji berry, angelica leaf sorbet, beef and dried squid consommé
Fermented tofu, burnt eggplant, fried quinoa chips, kefir lime cream
Celtuce, daikon, garlic, clam and beef fat broth
Inspired by bagna cauda, the garlic was noticeable but mellowed out by cooking, and further balanced by the emulsified broth of clam, beef fat and daikon. Thick slices of cooked aji replaced the traditional anchovies, giving the dish a more refined feel. Everything came together so well, making something greater than the sum of its parts. A 3* course and my favourite of the evening.
Sauce Lyonnaise, chestnut and sweet potato risotto
Our dinner at Florilège also featured guinea fowl as the final savory course, so the presentation here was a bit of déjà vu. The version here was every bit as beautifully cooked as the one in Tokyo. White and dark meat were finished with a foam of almond tea and liver, and a piquant sauce Lyonnaise. The risotto (hidden under the veil of a sweet potato leaf) had an element of fermentation, giving it plenty of depth.
Goat’s milk yogurt ice cream, anise cress, hay and fig leaf soup
Frozen cherimoya and chamomile purée
Panna cotta, meringue
The purée was flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen immediately before plating, but just enough to solidify the exterior while maintaining a bouncy, “QQ” quality inside. I am a sucker for the taste of cherimoya, so this was a hit with me.
Pineapple juice, Thai basil, carbonic acid coconut jelly
This was a refined take on a very traditional Taiwanese dessert – aiyu jelly from the fruit of the creeping fig. Instead of being simply served with lime, here the jelly was accompanied by pineapple juice and Thai basil, adding complexity. Cubes of effervescent coconut jelly added textural contrast. A very clever and delicious riff.
Just as Florilège is a contemporary expression of Japan, logy captures some of the best of Taiwanese flavours, remixing them with a modern aesthetic. The juice pairings here were also a hit. This was easily my favourite meal in Taipei, and the kitchen deserves two stars for their cooking.