January 3, 2011

[Taiwan] Five Dime Driftwood Restaurant

            The most beautiful restaurant I have visited so far, Taipei’s Five Dime Driftwood Restaurant.

            One of the highlights of my trip to Taiwan was visiting this restaurant. The restaurant, made of driftwood, iron, clay and oyster shells, is just awe-inspiring and overwhelmingly stunning. The exterior is an architectural marvel. It shows 2 females with flowing skirts and long curly hair. Their dresses are designed with circular patterns and spiral posts and they have multiple rings on their necks. Just like 2 tribal females.

            Hsieh Li-Hsiang is Five Dime’s sculptor and owner. She is known as Taiwan’s Antoni Gaudi because of her eccentric but marvelous detailed works. What’s even remarkable about Li-Hsiang is that she didn’t finish her education and yet she’s one the most creative artists in Taiwan.  Currently, Li-Hsiang has 5 branches of Five Dime Restaurants in Taiwan.

            The restaurant has 3 floors and the lobby is on the 2nd floor. To enter the restaurant, you have to go up the ramp to the second floor.

            If the exterior looks like 2 tribal women, the interior looks like an indigenous museum. There are a few pieces of sculptures on sale too. Every inch of the restaurant is designed with tribal things. My pictures don’t really do justice to the beauty of the restaurant.

            The view from the stairs is magnificent. There’s a pond on the ground floor with 2 boats and tons of fishes. I didn’t get to visit the third floor since we came in the restaurant an hour shy from closing time.

            We were hungry and excited so we ordered 2 dishes each to sample. 10 minutes after our orders were taken, the waiter informed us that one order comes with one cup of rice, a dessert and a drink. Seeing that they’ve already prepared our orders, we didn’t cancel anything.

            When our food came, we were overwhelmed with the enormity. Initially, we thought one dish is good for 1 person but it turned out that one dish is good for 3. Price ranges from P400 to P600 depending on the entrée.

            Deep Fried Shrimp Balls with Mayo/Lily/Mustard. The shrimp balls are crunchy. The sauce complements crunchy taste of the shrimp balls.

            Smoked Salmon Balls with Onion Salad. The onion, wrapped inside the salmon, brings out the freshness of the salmon. All in all, the dish is a little spicy, sweet and citrusy, similar to Ceviche. My favorite of all.

            Sauteed T-Bone of Lamb with Teriyaki Sauce. The Lamb is also a bit hard to chew but it still tastes good. We just didn’t appreciate it that much because it’s a little tough.

            Wine Chicken Legs. This is a cold dish. I think this is better as an appetizer instead of a main entrée. There is a subtle hint of wine and it only has a mild taste.  

            Steamed Lake Fish with Taiwanese Sauce. The fish is so soft it melts in your mouth. The mild taste though is balanced with the tasty Taiwanese sauce.

Grilled Pork Ribs with Garlic. We forgot to take a picture of the grilled pork ribs. The pork ribs are big and tough to chew but the sweet barbecue flavor mixed with crunchy garlic bits is lovely.

We had a weird moment in Five Dime. The drink included in the meal smells so bad (like stinky socks) we didn’t even try tasting it. Though the drink is a fail, the dessert is something else. Five Dime’s mochi tastes really good.

After eating, we toured the ground floor and second floor. In the pond, there are weird pieces of sculpture. The first we noticed are 5 women with long arms, big hands and feet, sagging breasts and small head, which stands out because it’s gleaming red. The second is a lone penis-like sculpture near a post.

Even the restroom is stunning. The big heavy door to the restroom is decorated with a tribal male or female. The sink is placed in a womb-like clay structure with mosaic tiles.

            Not everything on the menu is good but the breathtaking view and atmosphere makes up for everything. If ever you’re in Taipei, try Five Dime Driftwood Restaurant. It’s worth visiting and definitely worth your every penny.

            Five Dime Driftwood Restaurant is located in No. 8, Lane 32, Sec 1 Neihu Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City.

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  1. oh wow.

    this is quite possibly
    my favorite foodie blog post of the year : )

    i know, it's early,
    but this is really really unique.

    awesome photos too!

    bookmarking your blog... happy MMXI!!!

  2. Thank you! Your comment made my day.:)

    If you're planning to visit Taipei, drop by Five Dime. It's really breathtaking!:)

    Happy New Year and more power to you!

  3. I felt so happy to read the post that is full of deliciousness and made me feel hungry. Most of the dishes are there which I haven't tasted yet but the pictures here made me taste them.