Although it’s the same pale gold as a light-bodied sparkling white wine, the bubbly served in the crystal flute at the Regent Taipei’s Gourmet Gallery isn’t champagne. Rather, it’s a refreshing sparkling green tea. Served chilled to complement a delightful, mildly sweet onion tart appetizer, the subtle and refreshing Sparkling Biluochun is part of the Regent’s latest menu for Regent Academy’s Rethinking Oriental Tea Experience. The dishes on the specific menu are inspired by visiting Michelin chefs and are paired with refreshing, contemporary Taiwan teas chosen by a sommelier.
Tea and wine share many attributes, as both are filled with healthy antioxidants and flavonoids – and even more importantly, complement fine dishes well. But unlike wines, which are almost always imported, the Regent’s teas are produced here in Taiwan, sourced from Taiwan’s most exceptional tea makers, with flavors that are the equal to the finest wines in subtlety and refinement.
And the pairings at the Gallery Gourmet are superb.
The locally caught abalone, cooked under a seaweed leaf covered in salt (the salt doesn’t penetrate to the abalone but is used to ensure equal distribution of the heat) and served with shallots under two rich and separate black and white truffle sauces, is paired with a light-bodied Jin-xuan Oolong tea that resembles a light chardonnay.
A tart Hong-shui Oolong, flavored with slightly sour green apple slices, cuts right through the rich and beefy flavor of the US Prime Ribeye steak for a perfect balance to the dish.
The acclaimed, mildly sweet Oriental Beauty tea is served alongside the Regent’s acclaimed Doen-Jang Crème Brulee, a dish first inspired by a Korean Michelin-starred guest chef at the restaurant and made from vanilla ice cream, whisky, and three traditional Korean sauces.
This particular experience from the Regent Academy at the Regent Taipei is part of the hotel’s effort to go beyond simply providing a wonderful room in the heart of downtown Taipei City. The objective is to offer the kind of immersive experiences now in demand with today’s tourists, who are looking to establish an authentic connection with local culture.
Therefore, just last May the Regent Taipei launched Regent Academy, a program that draws on insider knowledge of Taiwanese culture and society to create one-of-a-kind adventures for guests. Tapping into the deep talent found among its own staff, the Regent Academy offers ten unique experiences for individuals and groups.
One option, for example, is a guided photography tour through several iconic neighborhoods, including visiting the locations in Dadaocheng where the Luc Besson blockbuster Lucy was filmed. Other options include exploring the hidden nooks of the Regent’s own glamourous Zhongshan North Road neighborhood, and visits to three of Taipei’s most scenic Buddhist and Taoist temples.
Visitors with a special appreciation for food can take a private cooking lesson from the Regent’s own star chefs, or even engage in the totally local experience of urban shrimp fishing – with a Regent butler on hand, of course, to help roast the shrimp over the barbecue after they’ve been caught.
History buffs and art fans can enjoy a guided tour of the National Palace Museum, one of the world’s top five museums and the home of China’s most treasured artifacts, followed by a sumptuous banquet at the Regent’s Silk Palace restaurant, located right next door to the museum and featuring a menu inspired by the museum’s collection.
With Regent Academy, guests from around the world are sure to find the experience of their dreams!