Spaghetti Alio E Olio with Basil
Arugula and Bamboo Shoot
Salad with Truffle Paste
By Josie Wu Translated by Ann Lee
88, SiWei Rd
Hours: 12-2:30 pm, 6-10 pm
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.
Sowieso has been around for a decade. From its humble beginnings, when it only had four tables, the restaurant grew to 10 tables, then 20, and now it is a two-story establishment that seats more than 100 people. The vibrant color scheme of orange, blue and green really breathes life into the atmosphere and the half-outdoor patio area makes for a pleasant dinner spot.
The owner and executive chef of Sowieso, Mr. Hung, is also quite the wine connoisseur; while working part-time in a French restaurant, he fell in love with wine and was even once named an honorary sommelier by Austria's wine-tasting association. While living in Vienna, he attended WIFI, an international tourism institution, to learn all about cooking and dining etiquette. Hung has brought all of his travel, fine dining and wine experiences back to Taiwan--he's even modified a few European classics for the local population. On one of his trips to Venice, he was swept away by a dish called Spaghetti Alio E Olio with Basil & Chili (NT$280), which he now serves in his own restaurant, claiming it is an Italian version of Taiwan's "Yang-Chun noodles".
One Taiwanese-style dish, the Arugula and Bamboo Shoot Salad, includes very specially prepared bamboo shoots that are boiled and mixed in truffle sauce with arugula (rughetta, in Italian). The argula leaf has a unique aroma, which adds an even better flavor to the dish. A new choice on the menu is Grilled Abalone Mushroom with Edible Frog Legs and Truffles (NT$480); after the frog legs are marinated, they're grilled until the outside looks slightly charred. For the main course, the Grilled Angus Short Ribs with Pumpkin Cake and Vegetables (8oz, NT$680) is always a big hit here. The beef is not even marinated--just grilled and baked.
Left: Grilled Angus Short Ribs with Pumpkin Cake and Vegetables.
Right: Grilled Abalone Mushroom with Edible Frog Legs and Truffles