In the heart of the Neihu development district of high-tech companies, telecommunications firms, air freight companies and budding biotech firms, there are also a number of new restaurants that offer lunch and dinner menus that occupy the first floor of these high-tech buildings, but few offer the level of entertainment and have the versatility of 1920 Club Restaurant.
The 1920 Club Restaurant is a large eating establishment with a stage and a small dance floor. The establishment advertises itself as a jazz club, but that is not necessarily the kind of music guests should expect. The sizable 300-ping supper club bands play favorite tunes for conservative crowds with peppy and uncomplicated music.
Restaurant manager Serena Liu said that the ventilation system includes an air curtain between the two, keeping the non-smoking section free of smoke. Non-smoking guests have the window seats and less than half of the seats within good view of the stage.
The establishment, being located in an industrial development zone, caters mainly to business clientele and often hosts press conferences for album releases or other PR events and year-end dinners for the companies in the area. Guests may work closely with Serena closely to plan events and she will arrange for the band and food. She advises guests to call first because the establishment is often booked for events.
The restaurant was established by a group of EMBA graduates who wanted to have a place where they could meet and socialize. Their dream to build a roomy, pleasant restaurant suitable for business negotiation as well as relaxation was realized in the 1920 Club Restaurant.
There are also three private rooms behind glass at the top of a staircase that are situated within view of the stage. The largest seats up to 14 people, the second largest seats 8 to 12 and the smallest seats 6 to 8 revelers.
The kitchen is versatile and can prepare a very large buffet with tasty meat dishes and soups. The buffet is offer a mixture of gastronomic specialties from the occident and the orient. The European-style pumpkin soup is stunningly scrumptious and so are the roast beef and pork slices in pineapple and gravy. Asian buffet items are mainly seafood dishes. The full beverage buffet offers good tasting coffee and many varieties of freshly squeezed juice.
Although the Web site says the menu is French, there are more Cantonese dishes to choose from than anything else. There are many selections in every category on the menu. There are 11 varieties of abalone-all reasonably priced for a seafood item that is notoriously costly. Abalone is not a fish, but is a shellfish about the size of two grown men's fists. The ear-shaped shellfish is usually harvested when its shell reaches about 21 centimeters across and has a rubbery texture.
Ten soups await your choosing and if you prefer Cantonese porridges and hot pots instead you will not be at a loss for choices. For something cooler or maybe as a snack if your are visiting 1920 for just a few drinks, there are plenty of chilled, tossed noodle dishes.
The menu offers set meals for lunch one more fancy than the next. The economy set includes a drink for NT$200. The other three are craftily named as part of the up selling scheme: The Usual (NT$399), Love You (NT$499) and Treasured Love (NT$599).
Chef Andy, who graduated with honors from the Le Cordon Bleu in France, places strong emphases on his sauces, which he said slowly simmer to create the desired flavor.
Don't be fooled by the massive bar next to the stage. There is not much of a selection of alcoholic beverages but the house wine Grey Fox Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 produced in a reliable California winery. Serena said that she tinkers has been tinkering with the wine list. Guinness is on the menu.
The new establishment is still in the experimental stage in many ways. Still, management and service is kind and attentive. They may not be able to fully describe everything on the menu, but they will ask the chef for you.
The ingredients seemed to be of good to excellent quality, but the food itself could use tighter control to bring out the best in what the kitchen spends on quality meats and vegetables. For example, the mushrooms are bought dried and that adds to the flavor when placed in a Cantonese soup, but if not soaked properly, they do not regain the necessary spongy texture.
The 1920 Club Restaurant is located at No. 58, ZhouZi Street, Neihu District, Taipei City. Tel: (02) 8752-5257. Visit www.1920.com.tw for more details.