A few months ago, I had the chance to have lunch at a place I had only admired from afar; the Mandarin Oriental. This place looked special, and I had always reserved it in the back of my mind for a celebration. I was really looking forward to this meal, but it turned out I was sorely disappointed by the experience.
First, you will come upon this imposing door. Don’t try to enter through this door. It’s locked!
Instead, you have to go around to one of the side doors. Then be prepared to wander around aimlessly until you find an elevator that goes up to the correct floor. However, during my search, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the interiors of the Mandarin Oriental are stately and elegant.
Bencotto is housed in one of the numerous hallways in the building. The interiors consist of dark wood paneling and glass.
The dining room is spacious, and there is plenty of room between tables.
First up, I ordered the Caprese Salad, which consists of buffalo mozzarella and tomato, with some salad leaves. The tomatoes appeared to be lightly roasted, but the texture was slightly odd. Their skins were tough and the interior was cold and soggy.
Then, my main course was the Pescato Del Giorno, which includes pan fried daily catch fish fillet, Sicilian Caponata and fresh tomato gremolata. The plate was enormous, but the portion was tiny. Honestly, I didn’t mind that the portion was so small, because the fish was lukewarm. The fish skin was crisp, but the flesh was quite limp, and wasn’t seasoned properly. The sauce also tasted a bit halfhearted, with a faint hint of tomato and onion, but no other distinctive flavor.
For dessert, I chose the La Tartellette Al Cioccolato ( 溫熱巧克力塔及香草冰淇淋 ) This was a warm dark chocolate tart, with vanilla ice cream. Again, I have no idea why this particular plate was chosen. The poor tart looked lonely on this big white plate, with only a small scoop of (partially melted) ice cream to keep it company.
I also chose a latte as my after lunch drink. This was by far, the best part of my lunch.
The second best part was the pretty marble hallway. The third best part was the impeccably clean and shiny ladies room. This place definitely had more style than substance.
In short, I can’t recommend the weekend set lunch at the Mandarin Oriental Bencotto restaurant, unless you are really into hallways and ladies rooms.
Information: Mandarin Oriental Taipei | Address: 58 Dunhua North Road, Taipei 10548, Taiwan | Phone number: +886 2 2715 6888
(This was not a sponsored post. Experiences, opinions and viewpoints expressed are my own).