Official Website: http://www.five-dime.com.tw/html/homepage.htm; Facebook（Check out their Menu)
Address: 台灣台北市內湖路一段32巷8號 (Taipei City Neihu Road 1st Section, Street 32 Number 8)
Tel: +886 2 8501 1472
Operating Hours: 1100 – 1400 (Lunch); 1700 – 2100 (Dinner) (Wifi available)
Budget: NT999 per couple set (exclusive of 10% service charge)
Outlets: Taipei, Taichung, Xinying, Tainan and Nuren-dao
Have you come across unique names that you can’t exactly fathom what they mean (Yes, 7 Kickstart BREWiches is one of them)? Five and Dime situated along River Valley and Five Dime (Taipei) bears some uncanny resemblance. Supposedly, the story begins with a fifty-cent coin on top of the wooden deck of a sampan and eureka, came the idea “伍角船板“, a.k.a five dime boat. Though the name bears no meaning and the architecture is so out-of-the-world, we would say that a meal here is a worthy experience not to be missed.
Initially, we were caught in a dilemma between ordering some a la carte dishes or simply going for the Set Meal for 2, which comes with 8 – 9 dishes (including dessert). London Gal was not confident of finishing them, but I thought that it would be more economical to order the Set Meal instead. After some deliberation, we decided to stick with the Set Meal for 2.
The Cold Dish/Starter (伍角鸿喜拼) comprises mixed vegetables, broccoli and fish cakes, with cockles and braised nuts. There’s probably nothing great about this dish to rave about, just prim and proper. The broccoli was sufficiently soft for my liking, and the cockles didn’t carry a fishy scent.
Drizzled with honey sauce, the Miso Pork (味曾松阪肉) was chopped into thick slices so that you can savour each piece in its entirety. The texture of the Miso Pork tasted somewhat like charsiew (i.e. we presume that it was cooked using the shoulder meat), but without the barbecued sweet sauce. It was sufficiently soft and tender, and most importantly, not overcooked or stiff. This made it to one of my favourite dishes of the night.
Ironically, the Sweet Potato with Plain Rice (地瓜白饭) was one of the dishes that were recommended by the other bloggers. There was nothing special about it though, as it was just plain Taiwanese short-grained rice served with a large cube of sweet potato. We had expected the sweet potato to be minced and infused within the rice grains. Oh well.
The Chicken Soup (原盅炖鸡汤) for 2 was the usual double-boiled chicken soup that Singaporeans are familiar with. It’s a pity that we lost the pictures, but it was rich with ingredients such as chicken bones, and other herbs. Tasty and nutritious.
For the Seasonal Greens (季节鲜时蔬), London Gal was expecting a warm plate of stir-fried green vegetables to be served. Instead, it turned out to be a medley of cold vegetables (comprising asparagus, onions, and red and yellow capsicum), served with sesame dressing at the side. Not mind-blowing, and pretty average.
Next up, the Deep-Fried Calamari (金莎炒花枝) was perfectly executed. You can definitely trust the Taiwanese with their treatment of squids, or commonly known as 花枝. From our experience in Taipei and Penghu, the Taiwanese love to deep-fry their squids and serve them piping hot. At Five Dime, the additional step was to stir-fry the fried calamari in salted egg yolk, which gave the overall dish its titillating golden brown appearance. I loved the salty taste that the crispy egg yolk crust exuded; but since London Gal does not consume much fried food, finishing the entire dish by myself proved to be a tad too oily. Nevertheless, this was a well-presented dish.
The Pan-fried Fish Fillet (乾煎鲜鱼) was a minor letdown for us. Although it was served warm, we found that the fillet was a little too oily for our comfort, and it turned out to be a small portion as well. However, we deem it appropriate to give credit for the well-seasoned fillet (sprinkled with black pepper).
Yes, they serve a Fruit Platter (季节鲜果盘) as well, but we were extremely bloated by then: it comprised pineapple, watermelon, guava and kiwi.
Last but not least, the signature Five Dime Milk Mochi 船板鲜奶泥. If you thought that Hualien’s 曾记 was famous for Taiwanese mua-chee, I would hazard to proclaim that the Milk Mochi here is on par or even better that the one we had in Hualien. The Milk Mochi was smooth, chewy like mua-chee, but its milk content was extremely rich. As a huge lover for milk, I really loved the Milk Mochi because it felt like eating a chewy condensed milk candy. To add on to that, the minced peanuts provided a balance of texture and flavours with the sweet yet bouncy mochi. Describing it as a mochi is probably a misrepresentation, because it is much softer and bouncier than Japanese mochi. Some patrons even buy this home because they love it so much!
Service wise, we thought that the dishes could be served a little quicker and it was a pity that they close at about 9.30pm. Nevertheless, the servers tried their best to provide their recommendations and you can utilise their restaurant-wide Wifi here!
I was told by London Gal that many tour groups like to visit Five Dime for their set lunches or dinner. We were also curious to overhear a table of about 10 people talking loudly occasionally about the matters in Singapore, implying that businessmen do love to frequent Five Dime as well. As for us, we were lucky to have made a reservation and got a nice quiet table for ourselves.
Generally, the restaurant is rather spacious and warmly-lit for intimate or hearty conversations. If your partner bores you out, take a peek at the swimming koi or request for a photo with the delicately-crafted artwork. As they offer couple sets as well, we highly recommend Five Dime if you got tired of the Night Markets and is in urgent need of a spacious place to sit down, unwind and enjoy your meal.
Yes, the desserts outshone the Mains, but the ambience made up for whatever shortcomings the food had. Drop by if you’re in serious need of rest, Wifi, or if you happen to be in the vicinity of the famous Miramar Entertainment Park.
Rating: 3.58/5 Mochi