Spanish cuisine has a diverse and colorful range of food that we rarely ever get to see outside the typical Tapas joint. Mixing dining styles from all regions of Spain, while at the same time throwing in a generous helping of modern creativity, DN Innovacion stays true to its name, providing some of the best top-shelf Spanish cuisine you can get in Taipei.
Chef Daniel Negreira is an artist in the kitchen. Developing completely new recipes using Taiwan’s local ingredients, Daniel “extracts the essence of ancient recipes and converts, improves and innovates to create Spanish cuisine… without losing the spirit of Spanish food.” One look at his work and you will see why he is highly regarded for the beautifully displayed and great-tasting dishes he comes up with.
DN Innovacion’s refined flavors come from specializing in only the best of a few designed set meals. All full course meals, the menu offers sets for business lunch, regular lunch and a special lunch & dinner set. Each comes with three courses, five courses and eight courses respectively. You can also get a custom set (for a custom price) upon request.
Each of the sets has multiple options, but I decided to go with the basic lunch set (NT$980) starting off by choosing the salmon salad with tartar and vanilla dressing. It was clean and crisp, and the raw salmon was an refreshing way to begin the meal. The vanilla dressing was a new concept, but surprisingly pleasant.
Next up was the “Baby Peas Pudding with Spanish IBERICO Ham & Coriander Emulsion,” followed by the Saffron Creamy Rice. The pudding was quite rich and the combination of flavors were great, albeit unlike anything I have tasted before. The creamy rice was also quite good, and the seafood was a nice touch, but because it followed the rich pudding, some of the flavor seemed to be lost, and it might be better suited to come first.
DN Innovacion offers a basket of different freshly baked breads to go along with the different courses, which I absolutely loved having with my salad and pea pudding. We were also fortunate enough to be treated to a very delicious Spanish snack consisting of a small toasted slice of bread topped with a fruity cream-cheese topping. It was probably the most unique thing about the whole meal and it tasted excellent, if not a little bizarre.
Next up was the main course. I went with the ‘Grilled Yilan Cherry Duck Breast ‘Chasseur’ style with Black Truffle Dressing’ while another in our group opted for the “Black Pork Sirloin with Manchego Cheese & Bacon Crust.” Both styles of meat were very tender and juicy, exactly what you would expect in fine-dining. Although the rich flavors did somewhat mask the flavor of the delicious meats.
Last up was our choice of dessert, my pick being the homemade ice cream. The fact that it was homemade was evident in the rich and creamy flavor you don’t usually get with mass produced ice cream. The crunchy toppings also went perfectly with the texture and flavor.
We also had a chance to try the homemade chocolate desert with a green tea spread and the same toppings used on the ice cream. While the servings were small, every bite was packed with rich, intense flavor, and the presentation was probably the most impressive display of the entire meal.
DN Innovacion’s design runs along the same lines as its cuisine, that being modern and creative while still trying to remain traditionally classy. The restaurant has some beautiful curves, furniture and decor; however, while it is very nice, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a wedding theme due to some of the colors and materials used.
The VIP room is by far the nicest part of the restaurant. Reserved for special guests and those with the dough to spend, the dark and intimate room seats guests next the chef himself as he prepares the 5 star-cuisine right before their very eyes. It doesn’t get much more lavish than this.
As for the service, there probably wasn’t more than a five-minute gap before our glasses were refilled, our dishes were set or our situation was checked on. The wait staff was extremely hospitable and made sure to introduce every dish thoroughly, as well as have a good chat with our table. Service is key in fine-dining, and DN Innovacion nailed it.
DN Innovacion is certainly innovative, and definitely upscale. The service, decor and presentation were fantastic, and the restaurant is worthy of the praise it has received. However, while the food is of the highest quality and Daniel is an excellent chef, fine-dining isn’t for everybody. Some enjoy the rich flavors and small portions typical of luxury restaurants, while others find it too fancy. However, this place is perfect for impressing a date or a business partner set on trying something new, and it’s worth a try for those looking for a fancy night out.