Basil T: A
of good food and cool
By Scott Sessions
Translated by Sho Huang
29, XiangYang Rd, Fengyuan Dist.
Hours: 11:30 am-9:30 pm (open to 11 pm holidays; closed Tuesdays)
Minimum NT$100/bill per adult.
No service charge.
Parking lot available.
For the past 11 years, this Fengyuan district restaurant has served a carefully-crafted fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine under the guidance of owner Mr. Liu Chun-ming, but keeps a low profile. Chances are you've driven by and not noticed it. Straddling Fengyuan's east-west divide, Basil T sits directly north and above the always-busy XiangYang Road underpass. West of the railway, it also has a car park straight across the underpass and an alleyway to park scooters not far behind it.
The long menu has a big selection of beef, chicken, seafood and vegetable based entrees (NT$145-215), from Italian-style toppings to Thai red/green curries, paired with either rice or pasta. Add NT$80 for a set with soup, salad, bread, dessert and drink. There are also light meals, sandwiches (NT$120-150) and dessert options, from waffles to Caramel Apple Pie. For drinks there is a good selection of coffee, tea and Italian soda (NT$65-120) available, too, in addition to alcoholic beverages (NT$110-160).
Right: Owner Mr. Liu Chun-ming
One Italian-inspired dish here is the Smoked Creamy Chicken (NT$180), basically a grilled chicken breast on a mound of spaghetti, covered with a classically complex tomato sauce and drizzled liberally with a mild cream. This entree is warm and interesting grub and will satisfy anyone seeking comfort food. If you want an appetizing seafood dish, the Black Ink Cuttlefish entree is it--Basil T's own creation with a jumble of noodles, cuttlefish meat and tentacles, plus Liu's homemade creamy, slightly spicy and utterly ink-black sauce, garnished with bright red tomatoes and basil. The Seafood in Basil and Pine Seed Sauce (NT$195), one of four pesto options, is yet another savory option. There are also seasonal entrees, like five summer mango-curry entrees available from June on.
Left: Seafood in Basil and Pine Seed Sauce set meal
Medium: Black Ink Cuttlefish
Right: Smoked Creamy Chicken (NT$180)
Besides the satisfying, reasonably-priced food, it's impossible to say too much about Basil T's warm, whimsical ambiance. A person could spend days checking out the knickknacks that Mr. Liu has collected, bohemian-style wall murals and reading the magazines. Overall, his signature theme seems to be "balance and beauty in all things", making anyone feel at home with by offering a sweet spot between the hot decor, cool music and eccentric menu.