Visitors at the National Palace Museum in Taipei will have the option of capping a tour of the exhibitions with dining with a touch of class and refinement starting in late 2007.
The National Palace Museum asked the five-star Grand Formosa Regent of Taipei in mid-December to take charge of the setting up of the "Grand Formosa Regent at the National Palace Museum" under a BOT arrangement. The project on a piece of land with an area of 1,430 square meters will entail an investment of NT$390 million. Construction work at the site is expected to start this summer. Once operational, the restaurant will put aside one percent of its earnings for the museum's educational activities.
"Dining is not simply about eating and drinking," said Shih Shou-chien, director of the National Palace Museum. "It is also about taste cultivation. Our wish is to be able to offer food culture befitting the National Palace Museum renowned for its fabulous collection of art objects."
Steve Pan, chairman of the Grand Formosa Regent of Taipei, showed his enthusiasm over the restaurant project with "culture" as point of departure. In fact, he expressed confidence that revenues in the restaurant's first year of operation would reach NT$200 million.
Architect Yao Jen-hsi has been commissioned to handle the major building facelift in the National Palace Museum premises. The new restaurant to conform to the building height restriction in the Waihsuanghsi compound will take over the site of a dining place which had some problems meeting the building safety code of the fire department.
Yao's plan is to introduce a lot of glass wall surfaces to the building not only to give a feeling of wider space but also to tastefully blend the interior with the surroundings outside. His design is also going to tap the natural sunlight to create a desirable dining atmosphere.
The new restaurant promises to accommodate the museum visitors' wide range of eating budgets. The fastfood street in the basement will highlight Taiwan's food culture. Visitors will be able to enjoy special delicacies and snacks traditionally associated with places around Taiwan. These food items will undergo a bit of creative innovation in the hands of a five-star hotel chef. However, the traditional flavors and aromas will be kept. As for prices, each dish will sell for NT$80 and each set meal will cost about NT$280.
The restaurant's ground floor will adopt the interior motif of the Lan Ting Restaurant at the Grand Formosa Regent of Taipei. The menu will emphasize mainly Taiwanese cuisine. Chinese cookery traced to the region south of the Yangtze River in style will tap the finest local food ingredients for exquisite dining. A set lunch will cost about NT$1,000 while a set dinner will be priced at NT$1,500.
The concept to be applied on the second floor will be consistent with that on the ground floor. The difference here is that the entire floor area will be divided into function rooms of different sizes to accommodate the requirements of diners. The third floor will be devoted to a banquet hall. Chinese cuisine at its best will be served here. The restaurant will be a showcase of five-star hotel management through the involvement of the fine culinary team at the Grand Formosa Regent of Taipei. The price per table will be about NT$13,500.