New Menu Review: Check-In Taipei

New Menu Review: Check-In Taipei

Launch of good-value all-day-dining menu at this popular Taiwanese restaurant in Central

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Foodie  Foodie Your Guide to Good Taste  on 7 Apr '18

Opened four years ago, with plans to open a second branch later this year, cool-as-a-cucumber Taiwanese eatery Check-In Taipei continues to score big with the crowds. On a Monday night, it was filled to the brim with young, local, IG-loving diners who were snapping away, eating and then running.

New executive chef Tai Pei Tak, formerly of yè shanghai, has overhauled the menu, focusing on affordable all-day dining, with the small-plate dishes priced from a wallet-friendly $36–88.


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We started with one of the dishes beloved by Taiwanese cuisine aficionados: fried chicken. A popular street food, the crisp, highly seasoned (think soy sauce, garlic and five-spice powder in addition to salt and pepper) popcorn chicken pieces at Check-In Taipei were excellent.

The crispy chicken with signature sauces ($75) was the standout – a classic done right – though the sauces (truffle and a strangely sweet and not spicy Sichuan-flavoured sauce) were an afterthought for us with chicken that finger-licking good.

The chicken & waffles ($65) was a disappointment in comparison. While the chicken itself was just as tasty as its predecessor, the basil-flecked waffle fell flat with a bland flavour and unappealing, spongy texture. Ditch the waffles, guys.


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Another new dish, the extremely cheesy egg pancake roll ($85), also left us shaking our heads. While the we liked the idea in theory, the flaky pancakes had a hard, chewy bite and were smothered in a blanket of quite sweet, and frankly off-putting, molten cheese. But they seemed to be devoured by the surrounding tables, so maybe we’re just a bit long in the tooth to appreciate this dish.


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To break up the heavy flavours, we ordered the plum-infused tomatoes ($36). The tomatoes’ texture was icy – like they had been previously frozen – so we weren’t sure if this was deliberate or not, but we enjoyed the light, refreshing flavours from the plum, spring onion and sesame, good complements to the naturally sweet toms.


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The marinated tofu ($36) was another light dish that we enjoyed – simple but moreish.


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We shared a bowl of premium Taiwanese beef noodles ($88). We loved the clear broth, redolent with ginger, star anise and five-spice, the tender, fatty short rib chunks and the chewy, springy noodles – Asian comfort food at its best.


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Ending on a high, the Earl Grey jelly and taro balls dessert ($58) was addictive. Those who like traditional cake-y desserts and puddings may be dumbfounded as to what this bowl contains, and we were too – until we began savouring all the different components. Our favourite toppings were the delightfully chewy boba pearls, the purple-hued taro balls and the plump sweet potato balls.


Verdict

Though there were some hits and misses with our meal – we definitely preferred the classic to the more creative dishes – overall we enjoyed our dining experience at buzzy Check-In Taipei. The crispy chicken (sans waffles) and beef noodles were fab, and it would be hard to beat those prices at another restaurant in Central.

Tip: wash down your meal with a newly introduced frozen fruit beer ($75), which comes in strawberry, pineapple and lychee flavours – ours, made with lychee-flavoured ice cubes, went down a treat.


27 Hollywood Road, Central, 2351 2622


This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.


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