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T2C2 / 1997

Medium / The China News
Date / 1998.06.26
Writer / Mary S. Chen

Japanese dining in the '90s at t2c2

  Sushi and teriyaki chicken are two dishes that come to mind when considering Japanese food. What does not pop into mind is au gratin seafood or garlic beef steak. Still, these are just two of the unusual dishes on offer at t2c2, a Japanese restaurant which serves modern cuisine along with traditional Japanese selections like sushi and teriyaki chicken.

   The variety of choices at t2c2 is not surprising. After all, the eight-month-old restaurant's cryptic name stands for "Taipei Tokyo Contemporary Cuisine," and suggests a fusion of elements.

  T2c2's Chinese name, Pa Chiao Yuan Su, or "Plantain Elements," indicates its Taiwanese roots, as the plantain tree is abundant in the sub-tropical climate of Pao Tao ("Treasure Island," a colloquial name for Taiwan). The large fan-like leaves of the plant grace the marble entranceway to the eatery and embellish its interior, adding a touch of life to the otherwise cool elegance of the burnished stone and chic minimalist decor.

  Juxtaposed with the native botanical component is the imported look, feel, and taste of t2c2. From the outside, the restaurant has a striking appearance, especially in the evening, when the darkness of the night dramatically dissolves under the illumination of bright spotlights. Beams cascading from track lights within the bistro shine through the floor-to–ceiling glass facade and reveal a sophisticated cosmopolitan interior marked by high ceilings, exposed brick walls, a stainless steel open kitchen, and simple modern furnishings emphasizing clean lines and sharp angles.

  Wrapped in a stylish package reflecting current trends in Milan, New York, and Tokyo, it should come as no surprise that t2c2 is part of Taipei's Apocalypse Now chain, known for its fresh a la mode interiors.

  But it's not just looks that matter at t2c2. After all, people go to restaurants to satiate their appetites. T2c2 simply aims to make dining a complete experience that pleases not only the palette, but all five senses.

  To ensure the quality of the food, t2c2 hired a veteran food and beverage consultant from Japan with 20 years of experience.

  The food is casual and light, which is good news for the trendy and health-conscious. Prices are reasonable, with many entrees in the NT$100 to NT$300 range. The cheapest item on the menu is the miso soup NT$60, but you'll want to eat more than that when u visit.

  A tasty starter is the jellyfish salad, for those who are fans of this crispy sea creature. The side salad is flavored with a light mayonnaise dressing - a pleasant surprise, as mayo usually comes thick and heavy.

  Those two prefer a less exotic dish can order the crispy and chewy deep-fried shrimp toast, served in bite-sized morsels.

  For an entree, a good bet is the cod teriyaki, which is quite tender and flavorful. Aesthetically presented on a Japanese stoneware plate, the fillet is marinated in an imported teriyaki sauce.

  In fact, all of the condiments used at t2c2 are from Japan, as those that are produced locally taste different.

  Another main course worth ordering is the potato and beef stew, a hearty home-style dish. Other best-selling beef dishes include the garlic beef steak and the tofu and beef stew.

  Those interested in Western food served with Japanese twist can order the au gratin seafood with potato, which comes baked in a golden cloak on a platter.

  Accompanying your meal can be a huge salmon and roe rice bowl or a t2c2 rice bowl flavored with seafood and chicken. And if you're one who thinks that no trip to a Japanese restaurant is complete without sushi, try the DIY assorted hand roll. The cone of seaweed and rice can be loaded up with whatever ingredients you desire.

  Those who aren't deterred by the summer heat can try one of several different hot pots, including the preserved vegetable, cream and milk, and chanko hot pots. The chanko at NT$800, is the most expensive item on the menu and provides a potpourri of ingredients aimed to satiate even the largest of appetites.

  Diners who crave great value and variety can try the recommended set menus for two to three people. For just NT$865 or NT$915, diners get a selection of six entrees along with rice and dessert.

  Business lunch specials are also available for NT$160 to NT$220. The whole package includes vegetables, soup, and entree and dessert.

  If you're free in the afternoon, drop in for tea and dessert. For NT$90, you can relax to jazz, enjoy your food, and soak up the ambience.