Words and photos by Josie Wu
Translated by Anna Yang
11, RenAi Rd, Sec 4, Ln 151, Taipei City (Close to Zhongxiao/Dunhua MRT Station)
Hours: Mon 5:30-11 pm, Tue-Fri 12-2 pm, Sat-Sun 12-11 pm
10% service charge.
Chinese and English menu provided.
credit cards accepted.
Steve Lam--who previously worked in finance--was born and raised in England. He learned Chinese and was enchanted by Taiwan's culture. However, he found it difficult to find authentic British cuisines in Taipei. To solve this problem Steve--who enjoys cooking--finally granted his own wish and opened 11 social on the last day of 2015.
Steve states that there are many restaurants in London referred to as Social for more leisurely and classic places for families, friends or couples to hang out at, differentiating them from high end restaurants or pubs. The extended business hours is a generous offering to customers to enjoy their gathering longer, and at11 Social there aren't staff reminding you of the closing time while enjoying your meal.
Other than its outstanding service, Steve's love and passion for European and British cuisines are detailed on the menu. He only provides the dishes recommended by himself and other London-based office workers on the menu. Although he understands providing set meals is beneficial to restaurant marketing, Steve has decided not to offer set meals at 11 Social because in his past experience as a customer, he never liked seeing the food choices narrowed down to include ones he dislikes. Therefore, the menu is simple, yet detailed and reasonably priced. The dishes are filled with sincerity and astonishing flavors, and the food ingredients for his soups, appetizers, side dishes, main entrées, desserts and drinks are all prepared with heart. You will not see generic dishes like corn soup at 11 Social, but instead tasty options like pea soup with mint, carrot soup with ginger; the main entrée offers ribeye steak with Bearnaise Sauce, and four large proportioned dessert options. Steve also picked out wines from the wine list of the Monde Selection in order to provide good value for his customers.
11 Social is a concealed, quiet and modern place containing 26 seats. The lunch menu offers refreshments only; it is recommended to make reservations for dining. During the promotion period for the restaurant, a dessert option is offered for free during Happy Hour dining.
A. The varied menu options are written on a board. Baked Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese (NT$260) is contained in a iron pot and covered with a layer of crispy breadcrumbs, aromatic cheese, and cauliflower and broccoli. It is a common homemade dish in Britain.
B. The recommended 11 Social Chargrilled Chicken (NT$650/half piece) has authentic spicy flavors and even the chicken breast tastes juicy. This notable Piri Piri Portugese style chicken is seasoned with spices for more than 24 hours. It takes time to serve the chicken because it is only grill cooked when the order is made. It comes with grilled carrots, vinegar sautéed onions, baby corn, fries and lemon slices; the mixed fresh flavors of vegetables with the chicken are addicting. The spiciness ranges from mild, hot, to scorching hot; and an optional garlic lemon flavored seasoning spice is also provided.
C. How about a traditional British style dessert, Apple and Cinnamon Crumble with fresh Vanilla Sauce (NT$200)? Its stuffing is filled with two kinds of apples, raisins, nuts, and cinnamon seasoning. The top layer is crunchy oatmeal butter biscuit dripped with vanilla sauce. This comfort food is unbeatable and heartwarming.
D. Baked Alaska (NT$220) is a rarely seen dessert in Taiwan. It is poured with Cointreau when served on the table; the blue flame around the snowy cake reminiscent of the aurora lights in the Alaskan mountains, and what lies beneath the charred sweet outer layer is the chilly ice cream!