Medium / China Post
Date / 1997.11.21
Writer / Michael Kitche
"Grey" has never been so bright
Walking into the Grey bar and restaurant off Chunghsiao East Road is like taking a trip to a trendy Soho eatery. With its all-glass store front, through which you can watch the endless procession of yellow cabs passing by, and with the minimalist Bauhaus interior design, there's more the feeling of Manhattan than Taipei.
True to its name, the Grey is painted entirely in its title color with the equivalent Chinese character "huei" painted onto the posts.
"Our concept behind this is to make a really post-modern, Western contemporary restaurant," explained Roberto Lee Jr. from Apocalypse design, the restaurant's parent company. "We feel that grey is a nature color…and we can give it the feeling we want."
But though the walls were ashen, the food is certainly bright, colorful and well presented. For openers, I had the soul-warming soup of the day (NT$100), a vegetable puree with overtones of yellow cheese. It had a fluid, no-clumps consistency which Lee said was found to flow with the preferences of Taiwan gourmets. Though it had a cream base, it proved light and not overly filling.
I then went to work on the garden salad (NT$140), which consisted mostly of iceberg lettuce and a choice of dressing, again showing an emphasis on light eating. On the side was a seasoned slice of garlic bread serving as a croton, and a baby baked potato with sour cream that complimented the salad well.
For yet another appetizer, I chose the spicy chicken wings with sour cream and salsa (NT$180) which were coated in a homemade, thick and picante barbecue sauce which added a pungent zest to the three wings. The mixed pepper salsa it came with offered a cooling contrast.
To wash all this down, I was given a pot of Grey milk tea (NT$160) which turned out to be traditional Lipton with milk and chocolate powder. It was a nice, insulating drink against the cold weather, and I easily polished it all off.
My choice for the main dish was the grilled red snapper with lemon butter sauce (NT$320), a very tender concoction. The chef - who, by the way, is imported from Taipei's Far Eastern Hotel - did a good job in getting the lemon butter to pervade the very essence of the fillets, making for some very tender, flaky fish meat.
Surprisingly, the highlight of the meal was desert, namely the house apple pie (NT$90). I'm usually not partial to apple pie, but this one was special, with a buttery soft crust, like a compressed savory cake, surrounding sweet and supple apple pieces, and all fresh from the oven. I had mine without ice cream, although the a-la-mode option also exists.
Though it's only been open since August, the Grey is doing a brisk trade, especially during the dinner hours, proving itself in the latest star in the Apocalypse constellation, which includes Wind, Apocalypse Now, Brown Sugar, the TU Cafe, and a couple of soon-to-open spots in Kaohsiung and Shanghai.
With entrees as low as NT$180 for spaghetti and with its killer deserts, the Grey needs not be the occasional treat. Know also that they offer a business lunch special which includes soup, a choice of main dishes, desert, and a drink for NT$200.
And now, with plans in the works to begin holding live jazz concepts in the evenings, Grey may end up being Taipei's newest hipster hangout.