Everyone owns themselves to leave the city behind and plan a mini getaway to this hideaway up on the mountain in Taipei.
VVG (stand for Very Very Good) plays a very important roll in the Taiwanese creative industry. First opened its door in 1999, they were and still are considered the pioneer of the lifestyle, food and beverage industry. The VVG group owns a chain of restaurants/lifestyle boutique around Taiwan that provides dishes and products curated by their founder Grace Wang. She works very closely with designers, educators, artists etc. on topics like lifestyle and food education. Well, calling the VVG group "chain" may not be the best describtion as every location offers something unique.
One of their latest addition under the VVG umbrella was VVG Hideaway. This appropriately named location is tucked away in Youngmingshan, one of the most well-known mountain in Taipei. Like most of their store, it combines restaurant, select shop and bookstore in one location. Unlike their other locations though, this place is not as easily accessible with public transportation as their other locations. The drive was a breeze though. It is only about half-hour drive from the National Palace Museum. The parking seems to be a problem at first as they do not offer parking lot. However, they do give you direction to where you most likely can find parking spots. We were able to follow their direction and found a few spots to park.
I really enjoyed the theatrical entrance where you took the stone stairway to the restaurant. You will immediately be greeted by a small white house with plenty of foliage surrounding it. If I really need to put a label on the overall style, I would say this "rustic-lux". It is luxurious and rustic at the same time. The interior designer has really good eyes for coordinating and juxtaposing different elements. Just look at the modern lamp mixed with white painted antique cabinet. They look beautiful. The entire architecture are covered with mostly glass roof which allow natural light through. Photos taken here turn out amazing! Every corner is an amazing photo waiting for you to capture. And yes, people seem to be doing just that. You can see boys and girls, young and old, everyone are taking photos. The space itself was phenomenal.
From my experience with VVG's food, I know I won't be disappointed. We picked chicken wing with blue cheese sauce from the appetizer menu and vegetable lamb stew from the main menu. When the lamb stew arrived, without even tasting it, I was disappointed. You know why? Because the main dish arrived first! To me, this is a definite "No" for any restaurant. Imagine going to a Italian restaurant and they serve you spaghetti first then the salad. How are the food, you ask? They were delicious, actully. The lamb stew was tender, well flavored with Indian influenced spices but not over powering the natural sweetness of the vegetable. The presentation was spot on. I love that they used an enamel plate for the lamb, keeping it with the rustic theme. The grilled baby corn, potato and garden pea were a hit and miss. On one hand, they have done a fantastic job grilling the baby corn with the silk on(the fine thread like part surrounding the baby corn). It add even more sweetness to the already sweet tasting baby corn. But on the other hand, they did not remove the stem of the pea pod. It was impossible to chew. We had to pull it out of our mouth. Not the best way to eat if you are on a date. To me, serving main dish before the apprizer was a fatal flaw. Oh! the dessert! Okay, the dessert must be most delicious thing ever because the red wine fig cake I wanted were sold out! (sarcasm)
The service was decent enough but it shared a common problem that many of the restaurants in Taiwan has, the waiters and waitresses felt robotic. Everything they say felt like they are following a standard procedure which most likely they were. They always have a poker face on. I am not saying they have to put on a fake smile for the customers but I felt a little bit bad for them because they obviously are not enjoying their job. They don't have to put on a show but I genuinely hope they should enjoy what they do.
The select shop were more like flea market. The products they sell were a little bit too rustic for my taste. I mean I am obsession with everyday functional objects but these are too rustic for their own good. It really felt like a second hand store rather than a nicely curated store.
Overall, I think this is a place worth the drive. Forget about Taipei 101 or the night market. Take someone you like, bring your camera and have a good time in the hideaway. The VVG Hideaway has top notch ambient and good food, but a few flaws here and there making this place not great but only "very very good"
Address: No. 136-1, Jingshan Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, 111
Phone: 02 2862 6488
Hours: 9am - 10pm (Monday - Friday) 9am - 11pm (Saturday - Sunday)