750NT$ for an “elevated” bowl of beef noodle soup… Is the hype justified? Let’s find out!
That’s mainly why my wife and I decided to finally try Gubami restaurant in Taichung, to see what the hype was all about. We’d been hearing a lot about it on FB, through friends, blogs, magazine articles… Gubami has become somewhat famous the past 2 years for mainly two reasons:
- 1. they sell the most expensive Beef Noodle Soup in Taiwan
- 2. they received a 1-Star award from the world-famous Michelin Guide
We visited on a Wednesday night. We had reserved in advance, we has been told to book ahead as it was supposedly packed all the time. We were surprised to see that it was empty, no other customers. (2 people showed up later)
Where is Gubami
Gubami is located on Cunzhong Jie 存中街, a quiet street in front of a park, few blocks away from the Art Museum and the Green Belt. There’s a patio area outside, with a table in the middle, but it doesn’t seem to be open for service as there are no chairs around.
What’s it like inside?
The interior is definitely on the small side of things.There’s only four small tables for two people, and five seats at a bar. The place is smart and clean – you can tell the design was done by someone who understands balance and space.
The decor is neat, kind of modern(ish) for the wall colors and lighting, but with traditional elements such as wood for shelves and tables. The playlist was soft Taiwanese music, at just the right volume level. I felt comfortable from the moment we walked in.
Menu is simple, text-only white paper, which is somewhat of a signature mark of a high-end restaurant these days. French-like.
Let’s start with a beer
I started with a craft beer. I got the Alechemist. Whoa…… I should have checked more carefully what the bottle said… It was like a glass of caramel. Way too sweet before eating beef noodle. Maybe it would have been better after the meal, but now it was on the table, no way I could wait. I downed it in few gulps, to forget my bad choice. Something crispier would have been better as a liquid hors d’oeuvre. Oh well…
I got the Red-Braised Beef Noodle Soup (750$) and it was, I have to admit, very good. The broth was just salty enough, with hints of spices that I couldn’t exactly identify, which in my opinion is a sign of a dish with flavors that are well-balanced. Definitely traces of Sichuanese influence. That numbing feeling on the tongue. The 3 pieces of Canadian short rib were tender, but not melt-in-your-mouth as I had expected. The noodles were the thick, flat kind, which they claim is made with Italian flour. It came with a dip of black truffle condiment, but I couldn’t taste the truffle. Overall, good beef noodle soup, but no, not worth 750$, in my opinion.
My wife got the set meal (1080NT$) it was the Clear Broth Beef Noodle Soup with wagyu shank, and some small dishes as entrees. She liked it. I liked it too. But that’s it, it’s stops there – no love, just like.
Her soup’s broth was a bit bland to my taste. Wagyu was tender, as expected. Side dishes were good, but uneventful. Portions were small, but that’s to be expected in this kind of restaurant. (We went to a bar nearby to have chicken wings afterward, as we were still hungry after our meal.)
Service and overall impression
Service was impersonal, but professional. The waitress introduced each dish in details, but she kept it short, which is always appreciated on my end.
Overall the whole experience was good, the food was delicious, and there were not any bad surprises. BUT, is it worth 2200NT$ for 2 people?
When I see the price in TWD, it’s kind of reasonable because it was fine dining after all – well, that’s what’s claimed about it. But if I convert it in Canadian currency, 100CAD$ for beef noodle soup and side dishes and a beer… I don’t know.
Should you go?
If you’re the backpacker type of traveler who’s visiting Taichung and cash is not falling off your pockets when you reach for your keys, skip it and go grab a bowl of beef noodle soup at one of the hundreds of shops who sell it around the city.
If you like to try new restaurants, you’re curious about Gubami, and price won’t stop you from ticking that box and collect one more 1-Star Michelin restaurant, then go for it! Just don’t order the Alechemist before your meal – keep it for dessert.
Address: No. 46, Cunzhong Street, West District
Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-9pm