Very seldom a restaurant opens and get a Michelin 2-star accreditation. And even rarer when it happened in the culinary capital of China – Guangzhou – where the population has been so used to good eats.
Taian Table 泰安门 debuted in mid 2016 and by October had gained a star in the inaugural edition of the Shanghai’s Michelin Guide. The restaurant was named after Tai’an road where it was initially located. The brainchild of German chef Stefan Stiller, it was finally given the 3 Star accolade in 2022 update. Then they opened Taian Table Guangzhou in 2021 after 3 years of preparation.
As executive sous chef of Taian Table Guangzhou, Chef Anson Ren works closely with Stefan, recreating his greatest hits as well as putting her own signature in some of the newer creations. The team promptly got their 2 Star in the 2021 Guangzhou edition of the Michelin guide.
“Best of 5”
Changed up every eight weeks, core tasting menus reflect the shifting seasons, so you’ll be treated to a different experience that tells a colorful story of flavour combinations and textures.
This is the anniversary degustation menu featuring the best of 5 years of Taian Table in Shanghai. The same menu was replicated in Guangzhou.
Welcome Snacks & Nibbles | 欢迎开胃小食
Once we settled the drink order, a couple of snacks was served.
Honey roasted macadamia nuts went really well with pre-dinner cocktails (ordered separately). It was so good we went for another helping. The nori seaweed crisps and parmesan cheese crackers on the side were savoury snacks that complimented the sweet roasted nuts.
Next up, a trio of small nibbles.
The first amuse bouche, a warm shot of tomato consommé with foie gras espuma and Parmesan cracker with red wine jelly.
At first glance I thought it was a hargow (steamed prawn dumpling). A slice of radish was used as “dumpling skin” and filled with trumpet mushroom and served with yuzu-shiso oil and a very fragrant yellow wine sauce. Innovative.
This was usually served a starter dish, but now I was blessed to have it as amuse bouche. Lightly cured arctic char, layered with thin ribbons of cucumber and enlivened with crème fraîche and ikura meticulously placed on a parmesan crisp. Salty, sour, umami from the single bite.
The last piece of amuse bouche, a single slice of aji (Japanese horse mackerel) sashimi on a bed of julienne cucumber and radish and dressed with ginger and seasoning oil.
The smallest chawanmushi I had, but definitely packed with flavours. Beside the perfect egg custard, there’s foie gras in the egg and truffle oil in the potato espuma.
Raw Marinated Hokkaido Scallop | 清腌生北海道扇⻉
Finger Lime | Trout Roe | 指柠 | 虹鳟⻥籽
Tartare of Dutch Veal Loin | 荷兰小牛挞挞
White Miso | Brown Butter | 白味噌 | 棕⻩油
Tartare of Dutch veal loin dressed with white miso and brown butter, topped with shaved trumpet mushrooms. Brown butter is a simple one-ingredient sauce, a chef trick that can transform all kinds of recipes. Unsalted butter is heated and caramelised. The French calls it beurre noisette, or “hazelnut butter,” as that is what your kitchen will smell like when you make it.
Sea Urchin | 海胆
Sourdough Bread | Brown Butter | 酸面包 | 棕⻩油
The brown butter was used to toast the sourdough. The toast was layered with fresh sea urchin and topped with a fresh slice of green apple. Umami from the sea urchin, tartness from the apple and the smokiness of the toast made this an excellent small bite.
Foie Gras ‘Cake’ | 肥鸭肝‘蛋糕’
Truffle | Apple & Kumquat Chutney | 黑松露 | 苹果金橘
The luxurious foie gras “cake”, layered with black truffle and elegantly equipped with a tangy apple and kumquat chutney, has been a classic at Taian Table since 2017. Paired with beetroot and tomato that reduced the heaviness of the foie gras.
Shellfish ‘Mariniere’ | 腌海鲜
Potato | Garlic | Parsley | 土豆|大蒜|意大利芹
A play on the French classic moules marinières (seafarers’ mussels), these beautiful seafoods were hidden beneath garlic foam and a warm potato espuma mixed with parsley purée and shellfish stock, with a scattering of crunchy garlic chips and tiny pommes soufflés (potato puff) to enliven the comforting flavours and soothing textures.
Agnolotti | 意饺
Artichokes | Black Truffle | 洋蓟 | 黑松露
Agnolotti is a type of pasta typical of the Piedmont region of Italy, made with small pieces of flattened pasta dough, folded over a filling of roasted meat or vegetables. Here, they filled it with one of my favourite ingredient, artichokes.
The only downside was black truffle sourced from Yunnan. I was very disappointed by this black truffle, this being the second time in China I have tried this. The first time I would dismissed it as improper treatment. This Michelin-started restaurant would know how to use this ingredient, but the taste profile of the Yunnan variety was utterly disappointing.
Grilled Turbot | 扒比目⻥
Sauerkraut | Caviar | 酸菜 | ⻥籽酱
A much sough-after fish at the fine dining tables for its pearlescent and juicy flesh, the turbot was traditionally grilled over wood fire. The charcoal grilled turbot fish rested on a layer of sauerkraut and capped with a teaspoon of caviar.
The delicate fish enlivened by the slightly acid twinge of the sauerkraut and the salty savoriness of an excellent grade caviar. The nori crisp made its appearance once again in this course. While I was not impressed with the Yunnan truffle, I was on the opposite end with this Yunnan-sourced caviar. These farmed caviar was of very high quality and brought the expensive ingredient to the masses.
Grilled King Crab Leg | 扒帝王蟹脚
White Miso Hollandaise | Pickled Daikon | 白味增荷兰汁 | 腌渍萝卜
A very simple course with a single piece of grilled king crab leg. The chef had let the quality of the ingredient shone on its own in this. The sweet and succulent crab leg was accompanied by house made pickled radish presented like a little rose, and a white miso hollandaise sauce that I had used only sparingly because the crab leg was already tasty on its own. So much sauce for so little crab 😉 was my only complaint of this dish.
Tofu Textures | 自制豆腐
Dongchimi | Sesame | Lettuce | 泡菜萝卜|芝麻盐|生菜
A palate cleanser using house-made tofu presented in a variety of textures: fresh tofu, tofu cubes fried in garlic oil and squiggles of deep-fried tofu curd, all set amongst zesty lettuce leaves. Their lightness was perked up with fermented tofu powder, sesame as well as a truffle vinaigrette using the marinade for ”dongchimi“ or radish water kimchi. A lovely repreive before we proceeded to the main courses.
New Zealand ‘Te Mana’ Lamb | 新西兰“Te Mana”羊
Peas | Mint | black Garlic | Yogurt | 甜豆 | 薄荷 | 黑蒜 | 酸奶
New Zealand Te Mana lamb saddle was simply served in a gleaming lamb jus to show off its pure, unadulterated taste. Accompanied with sweet peas taken carefully out of their pods and a light green sweet pea purée accentuated with dots of black garlic cream.
The lamb rack, cooked sous vide then pan-fried with rosemary and thyme, was finished with a rich lamb sauce and a dash of lamb fat. This intensely flavoured combination was enlivened with garlic-infused yogurt for freshness.
Full-Blood Wagyu Beef Tenderloin M7 | 纯血和牛里脊 M7
Black Truffle | Carrot | Sauce Bordelaise | 黑松露 | 胡萝卜 | 法式红酒酱
A wonderful cut of wagyu tenderloin, accompanied by a variation of carrots meticulously arranged. Sauce Bordelaise is made with dry red wine, bone marrow, butter, shallots and sauce demi-glace. These trio by themselves would made a wonderful dish. However the same Yunnan truffles made their appearance again which totally degraded a wonderful piece of beef.
Coconut | 椰子
Passion Fruit | Papaya | Tapioca | 热情果| 木瓜 | 西米露
The dessert was a crowd-favourite “Coconut” made up of three parts – a coconut husk made with chocolate, coconut ice-cream lining the host and a coconut milk sago with fruits topped with coconut cream and mint..
The dessert was surrounded by meringue mushrooms with passionfruit caps and sherry jelly. Everything on the plate was edible and delicious. I cracked the husk at the end and cleared the plate.
Farewell Sweets | 欢送甜点
And the sweets continued with the petite fours and truffle chocolates.
Four beautifully crafted pastries made up the petite fours – chocolate hazelnut, raspberry chocolate, mango passion fruit and grape tart. Very sweet, need that espresso.
I took one of each of the truffle chocolates on offer. There’s a raspberry drop ruffle, coconut white chocolate, coffee dark chocolate, and a macadamia truffle that reminded of Ferrero Roche.
Fine Wine Pairing
Sommelier Jordan Li has a very knowledge of new and old worlds wine, and given the advantage of the vintner renaissance inside China, he gets to see first hand the new varietals coming from Xinjiang, Gansu, Yunnan and Shandong.
1/ NV Duval Leroy | Fleur de Champagne | Premier Cru | Brut
This fruity champagne came with the amuse bouche. The bubbly drink has always been associated with joy, so this was an appropriate start to the meal – a celebration of five years of providing top notch cuisine.
The champagne got its name in 1911 during the first tasting sessions, Raymond Duval-Leroy distinguished an aroma of white flowers evoking the scent of the “wine flower” in June. This led to the birth of “Fleur de Champagne”.
2/ 2019 Casa Rojo | ‘The Orange Republic’ | Valdeorras | Spain
This semi-dry white was paired with the scallops. It has a citrusy bouquet and tastes of orange and peach, perfect with seafood. This vintage (2019) is rated one of the best vintage in recent years.
The wine’s name, ‘The Orange Republic’, is a salute to the thousands of orange trees that surround the five hectares of old vines just outside the village of Petín in north-west Spain.
3/ 2018 Tenuta delle Terre Nere | ‘Calderara Sottana’ | Etna Bianco Sicily | Italy
This Souther Italy white was paired with the shellfish. Deliciously dry and complex wine, it has an earthy tone but freshness of a Chardonnay. Floral bouquet.
Sicily has become known for their Bianco d’Alcamo, a dry wine made from the Marsala grape. The white wine of Southern Italy pairs extremely well with the creamy regional cuisine, as well as with some freshly caught fish or shellfish
4/ 2018 Geantet-Pansiot | Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc | Burgundy | France
This white burgundy was served with the grilled king crab. It has a buttery taste and complex profile. Pairs well with grilled white meat, and in this case, grilled crustaceans.
Geantet-Pansiot is a wine producer located in Gevrey-Chambertin, a village in the Côte de Nuits area of Burgundy. It is best known for its Pinot Noir wines from Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny, and also makes several wines under the Bourgogne AOC.
5/ 2015 St. Supéry | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley | USA
Finally the first red that accompanied the first red meat of the meal. The bouquet has a bright, berry profile. This oaky, dry Cab Sauv was perfectly paired with the lamb and beef.
I had the privilege of visiting St Supéry vineyard many years ago and was impressed with the bold techniques used for their wine making. St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery is a 100% estate grown, Napa Valley sustainably farmed, Napa Green certified winery located in the renowned Rutherford growing region.
6/ 2020 Château Nine Peaks | ‘Pitit Mansheng’ Collection Shandong | China
And finally, a sweet dessert wine with the sweets. Shandong has been a wine producing powerhouse of China for a long. It has a recent renaissance of sort with new investments into new growths and a larger range of varietals.
China has also produced stunning late-harvest wines from Petit Manseng, including this 2020 Château Nine Peaks. Freezing temperatures in northern, coastal China make for a natural habitat for Ice Wine. Producers have to ensure sulphur levels are kept to a minimum, however.
Besides these wine pairing selections, Jordan gave us a taste of another wine I have not had for a long time.
2018 Rebholz | ‘Münzberg’ | Gewürtraminer | Spätlese | Mosel | Germany
As the wine served so far was all dry (my partner likes sweeter wine), Jordan decided to let us try the semi-sweet wine from the other premium selection. The sweet Gewürztraminer Spätlese from Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz of Pfalz pairs well pate, foie gras and apple mustard chutney.
I was an exchange student in the Rheinland-Pfalz area and had a great summer of drinking some of the best whites of the region. This late-harvest wine has a nice lychee taste with a floral bouquet. Very easy drinking.
We had a lovely evening, great food, great wine, great company. But the evening was made even more memorable for the service team led by Can “John” Sehirlioglu. Can (pronounced as “John” in Turkish) came to China from Turkey and now have settled in Guangzhou. He was very patient in explaining the composition of the courses, and was quick to share joke. And at the end of the meal, he whipped out his private stash and served us a traditional Turkish aperitif – the double distilled grapes and aniseed called raki.
Served with ice and diluted with water, the clear liquid turned cloudy. If you are not familiar with aniseed, it would be a rather awkward drink. It is not polite to refuse a raki in Turkey.
This trip to Guangzhou, I have had many wonderful meals. This one at Taian Table was one of those. Definitely it has got a firm grip of the gastronomic market despite such a short time in business. I look forward for them to innovate and gain that third star soon.
Tel : +86 185 6523 8265
Date visited : Jan 2022
Michelin Guangzhou Guide 2 Stars 2021 (new to the guide)