International Dining in TaiKoo Hui Shopping Centre

International Dining in TaiKoo Hui Shopping Centre
By Jessie Chien , eChinacities.com


Photo: jasonbonvivant.com

As the epitome of luxury and contemporary lifestyle, TaiKooHui opened in September 2011 to Guangzhou's international and increasingly modern demands with great applaud. Though the restaurants were slow to open compared to the likes of Tiffany and Miu Miu and other well-known ground level shops, half a year later, dining options are undoubtedly one of the mall's main attractions.

While the food court on Level MU, rightfully named Food Republic, provides an easy, quick break from the drains of shopping, the 3rd Level Garden boasts a variety of six international dining options that are far more pleasant dining destinations. Perfect for any weekend leisure lunch or evening gathering with friends, al fresco patio dining is often packed and choosing one restaurant over the other is increasingly difficult given such tasty options.

1) Paulaner Brauhaus

Cuisine: German

Background: The Paulaner brand is no stranger to international franchises: With outlets in Colombia, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia, this is Paulaner's twelfth restaurant in China. As the largest of the restaurants in Taikoohui, Paulaner brew master Stefan Frank proudly showcases large brewing vats in the rear of the restaurant, where three signature brews are available on tap in .3L, 5L and 1L sizes.

Highlights: Beer: Paulaner Munich Lager, Paulaner Dark (Dunkel), and the famous Paulaner Wheat Beer, also known as "Weißbier".

Dinner is hearty and plates are big. Specialty Bavarian classics such as sausage platters, Wiener schnitzel, and roast chicken are all served with ample servings of excellent sauerkraut and potatoes. Do not miss their pork knuckle – a head-sized portion of savoury, roast pork on the bone. One order can serve three to four adults, easily.

Shop No.: L307
Tel: 8620 2808 6333
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs, 11:30-24:00; Fri-Sat 11:30-1:00
Website: www.paulaner-brauhaus.com/guangzhou

2) Koyama Japanese Cuisine

Cuisine: Japanese

Background: Koyama is the only restaurant on the Garden Level of TaiKooHui who has roots in Guangzhou, with two other outposts in the city (and one in Shanghai).

Sandwiched between Paulaner Brauhaus and SimplyLife Café, it's easy to miss the tiny entrance and narrow row of outdoor tables. After taking off your shoes and walking down a narrow corridor, the interior opens up and is much more spacious than anticipated, designed with a lot of clean lines and wood panelling, and is perhaps the most comfortable of the dining options. A large menu features many quality Japanese dishes, ranging from small pickled vegetables, to tofu, to grilled fish, to skewered meats and of course, sushi. Prices for sushi tend to be expensive, while noodles, rice, and soup dishes are modestly priced.

Highlights: The sushi. The quality of fish at Koyama is excellent, and though there are no crazy, inventive rolls, the basics offer options that are fresh and tasty. Because of the price level, I would recommend going for lunch, where a thick menu of lunch sets is offered as opposed to the higher-priced a-la carte dinner options. The premium 150 RMB bento box, one of the more expensive options at lunch, includes sashimi, ginger beef, tempura, and grilled salmon, in addition to a soup, salad, and steamed egg – plenty for a gluttonous afternoon meal. Less complicated lunch sets feature teriyaki meats, fried pork cutlet, soba, or bibimba, and are offered for prices averaging between 70-100 RMB (including soup, steamed egg and salad).

Shop No.: L306
Tel: 8620 3868 2701
Opening hours: 11:30-14:30 (lunch); 17:30-23:00 (dinner)

3) SimplyLife Café Bakery

Cuisine: Western (European/American Bistro)

Background: With seven outlets established in Hong Kong and one in Shenzhen, it was about time SimplyLife spread to Guangzhou. As a subsidiary of one of Hong Kong's largest restaurant groups Maxim's, SimplyLife first opened in 2007, with a business model that aims to reflect its name: provide simple, tasty, yet premium daily fare. Some of its sister cafes in Hong Kong serve up more complete meals including sandwiches and salads and full meals, but this café bakery here at TaiKooHui aims to keep their menu concise with four options each of burgers, pastas and pizzas. Typically this would be a downfall, but the tasty offerings combined with a bevy of dessert options makes any diner forget of any other potential options. Perhaps because it is one of the cheapest dining options on the Garden Level (and one of the smallest), SimplyLife Café Bakery is always packed.

Highlights: The pastas are surprisingly complex and rich in flavour, and their pizzas are served perfectly crisp with high-quality cheese (all pizzas are served topped with rocket—a nice touch, in my opinion). Desserts and pastries that are beautifully displayed in glass cases certainly live up to their image. Though the pie crusts are slightly lacking, the custard fillings are creamy and the fruit is exceptionally fresh. As far as refreshments are concerned, a small house selection of beer and wine pair nicely with the food. Coffee is certainly a highlight here, and the staff is well-trained in the art of making cappuccinos and lattes (watch out for the iced coffee, which comes pre-sweetened). Iced Tea is also an underdog – get one with your set meal, which includes your choice of soup, salad, or seasoned fries and a drink for an extra 20 RMB.

Shop No.: L305
Tel: 8620 3868 2321
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
Website: www.simplylife.com.hk

4) AN-TICO ENOTECA PIZZERIA

Cuisine: Italian

Background: Yet another Hong Kong import, AN-TICO is part of the Windy City International Group that offers some of the cities' most recognised dining options. With a bevy of Italian dining options already established in Guangzhou – Tomatoes, Oggi, Buongiorno, Aquacotta – AN-TICO certainly has a bit of competition in the market. However AN-TICO's menu is the most classically Italian of them all, with an ambiance that is modern and European-influenced. But frankly, compared to the other dining options on the Garden Level of TaiKooHui, Antico has a bit of growing to do, although the price is right and service is solid.

Highlights: pastas are tasty, though pizzas really are the highlight here. Ultra-thin crust is cooked extra crisp and with excellent olive oil flavours. Skip the meatballs – those get weird – and stick with the classics like salami and margherita. Beware, some of the pizzas on the menu either do not have sauce or do not have cheese, so choose carefully. The drinks on AN-TICO's menu are also excellent, with a nice selection of non-alcoholic drinks in addition to specialty cocktails.

Shop No.: L304
Tel: 8620 8550 9028
Website: www.an-tico.com

5) Lian-Viet Thai

Cuisine: South Asian; Vietnamese and Thai

Background: Lian-Viet Thai opened in Hong Kong's famous IFC building, and built a reputation on chic and upscale business lunches and dinners, with reviews in Zagat and Tatler's. Here in Guangzhou, the mood is still chic and slightly upscale, not to mention modern and sleek. However, it's left the business suits behind and welcomed groups of young international diners eager to find elegant South Asian options in Guangzhou. The décor is perhaps the most beautiful out of all TaiKooHui restaurants, and dinnerware is thoughtfully chosen. Presentation is just as beautiful and elegant. Though more expensive than a quick meal at TigerPrawn, the ability to share plates with friends allows for a an excellent dining experience at a relatively low cost.

Highlights: Surprisingly, Guangzhou is severely lacking of excellent Thai cuisine. Though I was excited to hear that Lian was a fusion of Thai and Vietnamese flavours, the menu skews more towards Vietnam than Thailand. Excellent dishes include signature rice paper rolls – two large rolls per order that come with a peanut-sriracha dipping sauce. The beef and green mango salad is a tasty starter, which though heavily dressed (typically a fault) is excellent in flavour and refreshing. The curry can be skipped; focus rather on their grilled menu options – the roast chicken being a surprising contender in the bevy of pork and beef dishes. Make sure to take a few friends along and order the dishes to share (myself and three friends ordered five dishes in total, with a little bit left over to take home). Unfortunately, service is slightly lacking, as wait staff often seem confused and ordering from servers who slowly key in requests on iPhones is cumbersome more than it is efficient.

Shop No.: L303
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00-23:00

6) Element Fresh

Cuisine: American

Background: Element celebrates 10 years since first opening its doors in Shanghai. With nine restaurants in Shanghai and two in Beijing, fellow expats who have lived in those cities perk up when they hear the name ‘Element Fresh'. The restaurant is famous for fresh salads, sandwiches, juices and smoothies, and makes a point to source fresh ingredients.

Highlights: Really, it's hard to go wrong at Element Fresh. The Warm Italian seems to be a crowd pleaser as is the Grilled Eggplant with Melted Cheese. Their salads are an excellent size for a complete meal, with any one of them – the Laffa Bread Salad, Grilled Primavera Salad, Chilean Beef, or Grilled Salmon Salad, for example – being tellar options. For starters, the hummus is dangerously addictive and the Grilled Quesadilla can satisfy anyone craving Mexican food (this coming from someone who grew up in California!), and is frankly large enough to serve as a main course. Surprise delight goes to the pesto pasta with feta cheese, as well as the chocolate cake a la mode. Blue Star beer pairs excellent with the sandwiches and salads on the menu. Brunch options are also available from early June onwards, and it's just a matter of time for delivery options to be announced in the Guangzhou area.

Shop No.: L302
Tel: 8620 3808 8506
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 11:00-22:00; Sat-Sun, 9:00-22:00
Website: www.elementfresh.com

TaiKoo Hui Shopping Centre太古汇View In Map
Add: TaiKoo Hui Shopping Centre, 383 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
地址:广州市天河区天河路383号

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Keywords: TaiKoo Hui Shopping Centre Western food Tai-Koo Hui Guangzhou Taikoo Hui restaurants international dining Guangzhou best foreign food Guangzhou

2 Comments

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1

Jake
comment|28470|0

I would agree, Tai Koo Hui has some great food options. I wasn't impressed by Lian, but perhaps I ordered wrong. Element Fresh, Paulaner and AnTico are all very good. Simply Life is great as well esp for coffee and desserts but you could do a full mean there as well. Also in Tai Koo Hui, there's a hidden little gem (Not so hidden as its packed always for lunch) is Crystal Jade in the actual mall on the same area as the food court with Burger King and Starbucks., It's probably the best Guangdong/Hong Kong style food in the Tian He area. Check it out......

Jun 05, 2012 23:05 Report Abuse

2

dandmcd
comment|28342|0

I recently discovered Taikoo Hui, it seriously is one of the best collections of shops, restaurants and cafe's anywhere in the city. An-Tico and Lian were the highlights for me so far, I haven't tried most of the restaurants yet. An-Tico is as close to good Italian as you can get, excellent ingredients and great flavors. Lian surprised me, I walked in there by accident thinking it was An-Tico, but found the food very fresh ,and full of flavor. I actually recommend the curry personally, it had a sweet taste I haven't had elsewhere. The rice rolls were definitely a highlight!

Also, even if you aren't looking for a high-end restaurant or a Prada bag, you can find Pacific Coffee, Starbucks, and Awesomely Chocolate, and as mentioned Simplylife for some relaxation and wifi.

Jun 02, 2012 03:04 Report Abuse