Taipei is a food lover’s haven. This was my second trip to the wonderfully vibrant, food-centered city, and both times I always end up feeling like I’m racing in a food marathon. The eating never ends! More on that in my next post.
I wanted to focus on this delicious—and organic—find, a restaurant called Nonzero. Very straight to the point, Nonzero focuses on food being one’s primary source towards health and well-being. Go figure, the owner of this restaurant, Mr. Chu Ping, also heads Taiwan’s franchise of Aveda Cosmetics. As soon as you enter Nonzero, you can’t help but notice its cozy, homey vibe. Wooden ceiling panels, aluminum countertops that remind you of American home kitchens, family style seating, plus shelves stocked with kitchen supplies, books, and wine bottles; you are immediately transported to a world where nothing else but the food matters.
I loved Nonzero’s open kitchen vibe. Everything about it made me feel at home.
You can opt for Nonzero’s a la carte menu or its set menu; my group and I decided on the latter. Starting us off on this organic food journey was a pumpkin soup with raw mushrooms. Very simple, yet filled with flavor, the pumpkin was slightly sweet, and I loved munching on the mushrooms. The two made a perfect combination, and how adorable is that ornate pot they served the soup in?
Pumpkin & mushroom soup.
After making sure every single drop of soup was gone, I was eager to see what the next course would be. A huge plate of greens arrived, and what caught my attention most were two things: figs and ice plants.
Absolutely gorgeous– A fig and an ice plant
The figs in my salad were juicy, and I loved the sound of crunching seeds filling my ears as I chewed. Figs truly are one of my favorite fruits. The ice plants—which are vegetables that hail from South Africa—were completely new to me. As if encrusted with miniscule crystals, this vegetable glistened under the restaurant’s warm glow, and I couldn’t wait to taste this mysterious ingredient. Upon first bite, it’s like the vegetable explodes a little bit in your mouth, as if all the crystals are water molecules waiting to be released. I enjoyed having these two different textures in my salad, and one thing I love about traveling to different countries is experiencing different ingredients I wouldn’t normally come across at home!
The next course was incredibly refreshing; we were presented with scallops atop a Parmesan crisp and diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and pears. Talk about a play in textures and flavors! With a hint of sweet, and a touch of salty, this was a good transition dish for what was to come.
The most refreshing course of the night– Scallops atop a Parmesan crisp & diced cucumbers, pears, and tomatoes.
Next up was grilled squid, flavored with some salt and pepper, and a splash of lime. This is the beauty of Nonzero; what I love about them is the fact that they serve dishes so simple, yet because of their fresh ingredients and straightforward approach, you can count on it tasting delicious sans the fancy sauces or marinades.
Our next dish arrived, another no frills entrée, which was sea bass over some grilled vegetables. This was my least favorite out of everything that arrived, but again, I can’t stress enough how fresh, quality ingredients really made a difference with every dish served.
Sea bass & grilled vegetables.
The main attraction finally arrived–in all its pink, glowing perfection—herbed lamb over sweet potato fries! When I saw this dish, I couldn’t help but gasp a little bit. It was beautiful, and it tasted even better than it looked! Nice and pink, just the way I like my meat, the juices surged out with every bite. The crisp sweet potato fries were a perfect companion, slightly balancing out the gaminess of the lamb. No need for sauces, my friends! It tasted perfect.
Capping off our gluttonous, yet healthy (how ironic!) evening was a fruit and pastry platter. Out came a round wooden plate adorned with fresh kiwi, apples, pears, and melons. To add even more to the selection of sweets were pieces of almond biscotti, a sliver of blueberry cheesecake, chocolate cake, apple crumble, and mounds of lemon chiffon.
Post-dessert, armed with my after-dinner cappuccino, I sat back and marveled at how a restaurant serving such simple, wholesome dishes could still remain interesting. It all boils down to my beliefs that dining out should be an experience, and Nonzero truly was. With its take on organic food, coupled with the welcoming ambiance, I thoroughly enjoyed my last meal in Taipei City, Taiwan. So Nonzero, thank you for the eventful good bye, I couldn’t have asked for a better last supper.
Thank you for a wonderful evening, Nonzero.