May 25, 2018

Longtail - Where You Get the Best of Both Worlds

Not just some kind of fancy joint where you get a few savory snacks to munch on with pretty looking cocktails on the side. Longtail is the true deal here, both on the plates and in the glasses.

Recently crowned with one Michelin star fame, at first I thought about Longtail as a trendy place to enjoy some bistro-like dishes. In fact, it was more than that. The culinary team's multi-national influence not only reflects on savory cuisine, but also shown on drinks. Cocktails with their own twists, Longtail can also be a modern yet cozy place to share a few drinks.

Its transition from restaurant to bar filled with trendy people as time crawls deeper into the night. Little chick chat in the corner, some men's talk by the bar, or laughter coming from the back of the room. People seemed to enjoy this place, whether restaurant or bar, put the food and drinks aside first, I think partly thanks to Longtail's overall vibe.

Not exactly a spacious location, but it was cozy and not crowded with cramped tables at all. But in a way still close enough to get some of that intimacy, especially after the night falls. 

There were leather cushioned seats by the window, bar stools for a closer look at bartender's mesmerizing movement. How about large group of friends? Find yourself a semi-private area in the very back. No matter what the purpose is, Longtail seemed to have a sweet spot for everyone.

As for me, it was a casual celebration dinner with Mister. So our table by the window with one side fitted with wide cushioned sofa was the perfect fit for us.

Menu -

English menu -

On top of a la carte, Longtail currently offers two set menus, one priced around $62 USD and the other around $96 USD -

Drink menu -

As mentioned earlier, Longtail is more than just a fine dining restaurant. If you ever come to this place, just skip the wine and hard liquor, go ahead and give their cocktails a try. Ask for recommendations if uncertain, some varieties actually goes really well with savory dishes.

The list goes on, but here are two pages from the drink menu to provide some idea about Longtail's cocktail offerings.

Pandan mojito -

"Pandan infused rum, pineapple purée, agave syrup, mint"

Being a fan of mojito, I have to try it when seeing interesting flavors on the menu, especially it was my first encounter with pandan flavored mojito. That distinct Southeast Asian scent wasn't prevalent at first, but soon that familiar herbal and coconuty aroma emerged. Comforting drink with an exotic twist. 

Lost in translation -

"Shiso infused rum, green tea umeshu, cucumber bitters, chili powder"

All these ingredients sounded like a petite Japanese appetizer at first, but presented in a cocktail form. Even though not mentioned as one of the ingredients, the drink was actually dominant by citrus aroma. The chili powder on the rim was like a tiny touch on the lips, caused no harm on the tongue but rather appealing to the eye.

Was it me or the drink, what's that fuzzy feeling, was I buzzed? So soon? Only first round of drinks.

Soon the first starter came to a rescue -

"Uni, crispy nori rice, ponzu, shiso"

Buzzed still, but my ability to savor the food remained sharp. The foam tasted like kombu dashi, but light and airy. Just a slight touch on top of creamy uni. Once taken a full bite, umami from the foam and the uni filled my entire mouth. But not the explosion kind, but rather gentle and smooth. A brush of yuzu aroma shined through in the end, surprisingly matched so well with earlier lost in translation cocktail.

"Fig toast, ricotta cheese, port wine, lemon balm" -

Brioche was toasted to perfection. Aroma was intensified on those slightly burnt edges, simple but so satisfying. Nothing fancy or extravaganza, but with just the right touch, simple elements can reach such great heights. 

I was wondering where's the ricotta cheese, only till I scooped everything into one bite I realized that the edge of the plate was actually rimmed with a smooth layer of cheese. The port wine sauce came with a hint of cinnamon. Perhaps I was wrong, but that scent was gentle and not over-powering. In a way, the sauce provided certain degree of warmth to the dish.

Truly a simply but well-constructed dish.

My pandan mojito was served with a paper straw, a kind gesture to the environment. Just when the straw was about to collapse, a hint telling the customer to speed up, it did take me a while to sip on, another hint popped up on the coaster saying "one more?"

Yes, I'll take another one please.

If I passed out later during the night, it's all your fault (point up).

Before my second drink arrived, let me stock up with more food first, such a weak drinker (drink responsibly please, and don't drink and drive).

"Crunchy soft shell crab, salted egg yolk, curry leaf"

If you ever had shrimp crackers, those colorful crunchy airy cookies sometimes served as a side at a Thai restaurant, Mister described this dish like highly intensified shrimp crackers.

Saltier compared to other dishes, but went really well with alcoholic beverages. The sauce hidden in the center also got some acid kick, which balanced off the fried coating in a way.

"Fried chicken, sweet potato, piri piri" -

That orange sauce in the center, the "piri piri" actually tasted like a mixture of Tabasco and Korean Shin ramen. Not just spicy, but also got some savory notes. The pale yellow sauce further into the center was mainly creamy sweet potato purée. These two contrasting flavor complimented one another. Just go with your preference, dipped more orange sauce for a stronger kick, or opted for a smooth sensation with yellow sweet potato.

Chicken itself was fried to perfection, just look at the picture yourself, so juicy. In fact, I could live with this fried chicken alone without the sauce.

Where's my drink?

"Japanese wagyu steak (A5), gochujang glaze, turnip, mint" -

Let's talk about the side first, the turnips were cooked in katsuo broth, so they got a little umami hidden inside. As for the marbled beef itself, rarely seen such heavy seasoning used on wagyu beef. But it was mostly a gentle brush of Korean elements on the surface. A slight touch that went a long way.

High fat content with heavy seasoning, but the portion was right, a couple bite for me and Mister, so in the end the steak brought our sensation to the high point without growing tired of it. All our senses stayed at the peak.

My second cocktail arrived when the steak got to our table, auga de Formosa -

"Hibiscus infused vodka, peach purée, passion fruit syrup, smoked plum"

Looked much like fresh watermelon juice, with a few sips, my mouth was filled with woody smoky aroma. From there, a deep colored stone fruit sweetness leaked through. Highly intensified cocktail, came just in time for my heavy seasoning steak.

A couple's celebration dinner cannot be complete without dessert -

"Chocolate fondant, lime, green tea ice cream"

There was yogurt sauce in the center, but when cutting through the chocolate fondant, yogurt lava flew through. The use of green tea ice cream worked even better compared to the usual vanilla ice cream. Instead of piling up the usual elements on top of one another, the minimal tannic tea can further cutting through the rich chocolate. Still creamy and luscious, but in a much more elegant way.

Sweets craving satisfied.

Still buzzed when walking out Longtail, but my guts telling me we came to the right place for a celebration dinner. Food was great, cocktails were awesome, not mentioning the buzz came after. Truly the place to find best of both worlds. 

Longtail currently holds one Michelin star status

No. 174, Section 2, Dunhua S. Road, Da’an District
Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 2732 6616
Official website:

Opening hours:

Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday 6 p.m. ~ 2 a.m.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 6 p.m. ~ 3 a.m.
Tuesday off

*Reservation can be made up 2 months in advance

Other Michelin restaurants in Taipei:

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