Aug 23, 2011

The Villa Herbs


The Villa Herbs is an enchanting dining space in the middle of the south east corner of the Da An District. It is quite close to the Tong Hwa Nightmarket and a light stroll from the Liu Zhang Li MRT station. When you walk through the front gate you are transported to a pseudotropical "villa". It is a comfortable and interesting place to have a meal or just grab a few drinks. They mix pretty decent drinks, but the food is generally not as good for the price you are paying. They do have some good dishes like their truffle risotto. Come visit and enjoy their relaxing atmosphere.

Phone #: 02-2732-3255
Business Hours: 12:00-0:00
Website: N/A
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Price Range:   $$$$
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  yes
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3.83 out of 5
Recommendation: Interesting Interior Average Western Food

 The front entrance is kind of enchanting. It's like a southeast asian jungle type of villa atmosphere. I could comfortably lounge in this outside area with a mojito. There are two areas to this restaurant, the left area is more of the dining side and the right area is more of a lounge bar atmosphere. There is a minimum of 500 NT for each person at the lounge bar area. The minimum can be easily met as each drink is around 400 NT. The service here is very kind, fast, and detailed. They ask you for your feedback even though it might not be heeded. At least they had the gesture of concern. They are staffed quite effectively and I did not feel like I had to wait too much to get some service. They get above average scores for decor and service, but they are lacking a bit in the food department. They have many combinations of set meals for 980 NT with 2 appetizers, a soup, an entree, and a dessert plate. I got the white wine braised lamb shank.
The appetizer set was not bad. They had this tuna fish bite-sized sandwhich, a bite-sized stuffed tomato, and a cucumber wrapped in salmon roe. Nothing really stood out in this plate.
 The next plate of appetizers were more to my liking. There's this side of asparagus and mayonaise topped with salmon roe. There's a bacon wrapped chicken with fig doused in a thick brown gravy. And then their side of truffle risotto, which was probably the most tasty thing this evening. If I had to come again I would probably just get that a la carte with some red wine and some sort of soup or salad. The truffle taste permeated the al dente risotto and each bite was rich with flavor.
 Then there was this not so notable bowl of seafood tomato soup. It's pretty much ye olde vegetable soup with some fish bits tossed inside. Sure it was soothing, sweet yet salty, but it's just a unenticing bowl of vegetable soup with some fish chunks floating about. It was edible, but not incredible.
 The main entree was a let down for me. I love lamb shank, and this is one of their recommended entrees. However, I already felt like something was up when the menu said they braised these lamb shanks in a white wine sauce. In the back of my head I was thinking whether or not that would be a good idea because usually the red wine sauce pairs better with lamb. And I was exactly right...the lamb shank was cooked well; melt off the bone type of well. However the sauce was too light and didn't add any interesting notes to the lamb shank itself. I think I was pretty much eating unadulterated lamb shank instead of a carefully mastered dish that would be more satisfying. Psychologically I was craving for the red wine sauce thick and rich style braised lamb shank. Mentally, this was like being given that plain white chicken feet at a Dim Sum when you were expecting that flavorful red version. I would probably not order this again, but would rather stick with the risotto and a couple of other a la carte items. Generally, I don't think the set menu is really worth getting because of a lot of the items in it aren't that great. I recommend sticking to things you like and not be forced to deal with their set items:
 Case in point: I really didn't like their desert set at all. I think they should have given you more options for your drink than forcing you to drink their licorice tea. The tea tasted like liquified watermelon seeds. If you ever had those chinese watermelon seeds before, you would know what I'm talking about. Imagine soaking a bag of those seeds in water and then drinking the water...that's what it tastes like. It does not complement the Tiramisu at all, and I am wondering what mad scientist came up with this formula.

Their mixed drinks are generally good and decently prepared, but their food is just average fare. Their dining space is quite interesting and they also have hookah available on the premises, so this place is a very relaxing and calm place to enjoy a couple of drinks. They have a house/trance DJ spinning some ultra-loungy type of music for the night. If you are tired of brushing elbows in the more bustling part of town, try an escape to The Villa Herbs.


Kimberly Cheng said...

omg you write too much but it looks sooo cute!!

Johnny said...

Yes, this is my space to 哭爸

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