Fire Chicken and Vodka

Russian Restaurant in Taipei

Queenie and I recently decided to visit our local Russian Restaurant called Salt and Bread located on Tun Hwa South Road. We have walked by the restaurant many times but never made it inside. From the outside the Salt and Bread looks really small and when we went in the front section was completely taken up by a birthday party. But the waiter guided us to the back and what seemed to be a labryinth into the basement, which was very big and had an amazing amount of seats. So the front of the restaurant was deceptive as to its true size.

Inside Looked Quaint

Queenie next to the Christmas Tree

The atmosphere in the basement was pretty good. There were a few end of year parties going on and people were having fun. Of course when we got the menus we were a little surprised at some of the prices but, because neither of us were terribly hungry, decided just to order a main course and a couple of beers.

Set Menu for NTD1000

Qeenie order some pork wrap dish and I decided to go with the flaming (fire) lamb and this is where our troubles started. After ordering the food they came back to me saying the lamb I wanted was out of stock and in fact most of the really traditional Russian foods had been sold out. It was only 7:30pm and I was surprised they were sold out so soon. Eventually the maitre d' came over and offered to prepare the same dish but with chicken instead of lamb. I said it would be OK.

The waiters did feel bad and gave us a complementary dish which neither Queenie or I could figure out. The dish seemed to be some kind of green, sweetish sticky gello-type thing (I should really not be reviewing restaurants) and rather than be swallowed, slithered down our throats. They also offered us two pieces of bread. When we asked for more they said they couldn't give us any because we did not order the set meal!

What is this?

I was starting to think this restaurant didn't really have anything on offer for us and that the staff were too constrained by management. To he honest, the staff were super friendly and really did try to help us out as much as they could. But we just got the idea they were to constrained by the rules and regulations of the place.

The beers arrived first. Of course they never had any Russian beer so we had to settle for some German beer (which was probably a good thing right!). After that Queenie's food arrived. Actually it didn't taste bad at all, it just didn't seem to be enough for the NTD400 price tag (or somewhere around there).

Queenie with her food

My food arrived soon afterwards. I guess they had cooked it mostly in the kitchen but they bring it out on a platter and set the chicken alight with a huge two-second flame leaping into the air. Of course once the flame died down life went back to normal. Now, although the Chicken didn't taste bad either, it just didn't seem that special. Maybe if they had done the lamb in that way it would have been better, but it was chicken.

Fire Chicken

Fire Chicken on the Plate

Well, the highlight of the restaurant was the -20C ice-box they have in the restaurant. After dinner we decided to pay and incredible amount of money for a couple of shots of vodka and for the chance to experience extreme tempratures. Once again the guy serving the vodka's in the box was very polite and friendly and the ice box to be honest wasn't such a bad experience. Queenie had a small sip of some sweet vodka (NTD350 per shot) and I got a shot of traditional Russian vodka (NTD250 per shot). We hung out in the ice-box for about 10-minutes afterwhich we were really feeling cold.

Looking into the Ice Box

Inside the Ice Box

Us in the Ice Box

Vincent, the Ice Box Barman

Queenie and her Vodka

Paul and his Vodka

The Temperature inside

The great thing about leaving the ice-box was that even though Saturday was a very cold night in Taipei, we felt incredibly warm. Who would've guessed?

Conclusions: The staff was incredibly friendly, the food was delicious enough but for an NTD2,000 meal for two people, we felt a little cheated. The restaurant itself was well decorated and they even had a Christmas tree. Will we go there again? Maybe, but I don't think it will be any time soon.

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