TAIPEI, Taiwan — After reconception and renovation, the Grand Hyatt Taipei opened its 290-seat, ground-floor restaurant, Café, last month with designs on a reputation as one of the most invigorating dining experiences in Asia.
With nearly three-dozen chefs at the helm in a plethora of show kitchens, with 168 culinary options that span the globe and with a variety of artfully conceived venues, the vibrant new Café is collection of plays within one grand, international play.
Sushi chefs plate fresh rolls at center stage. Indian cooks concoct curries in the wings. Chinese chefs man the woks at an open show kitchen by the entrance. They’re squeezing fresh fruit juice in that far corner. And vast displays of pastries lure the sweet tooth from a shop that serves as frosting on the cake of the whole operation.
With sections divided by glass partitions, floors of wood here and marble there, and accents of Chinese plates, copper pots and glassware on open shelves, the Café reaps order from the sometime chaotic layout of a typical buffet.
Three months in the making, from its concrete base up, the Café is one nine restaurants and bars at the at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, and succeeds Yun Jin (flagship Chinese restaurant) as the next new roll-out in the hotel’s remarkable transformation.
The menu is a buffet at breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, but the hotel intends to subvert expectations of buffet dining with bespoke culinary experiences.
“Where so many buffets are focused on the chafing dish, we are focused on the plate,” said Kai Speth, general manager of the hotel. “We’re a buffet with all kinds of à la carte pretensions.”
The new Café features 10 distinct food stations, including destinations for the food and drink referenced above, as well as salads and appetizers, western delicacies, fresh seafood, and cheese.
One of the Café’s new specialties is a whole chicken braised with Ningbo lotus seeds, a classic Chinese dish featuring red shallots, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, and various homemade ingredients.
The lead Indian chef has called on a recipe from his hometown to make traditional tandoori chicken, marinated with 10 different Indian spices.
And there is authentic black truffle risotto, prepared with Italian rice cooked al dente, a white wine and chicken stock, and a mix of mushrooms, onion, cream, Parmesan cheese and black truffle sauce.
Café is open for breakfast from 6:30 am to 10:30 am for breakfast, from 11:30 am to 2 pm for lunch, and from 6 pm to 9:30 pm for dinner. Each meal costs NT$1,480 (US$ 46) per adult, and NT$ 740 (US$ 23) for children aged 5 – 12.
In April, Grand Hyatt Taipei celebrated a Grand Relaunch after a renovation that took all 853 rooms and suites of the hotel down to their concrete fundamentals. Beyond the rooms, Grand Hyatt Taipei redesigned its Club Lounge, opened a new restaurant in February, Yun Jin, and is planning on yet a third major restaurant renovation next year.