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Old Tree 老樹

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Hong Kong is a food Mecca, no doubt about that but we also had a lot of great food in Taipei as well. The PigPig happened to come across a forum with some Taiwanese saying that My Old Tree served pretty good authentic Taiwanese fare. When my Taiwanese ex-flatmate (blogger too!) also said it was pretty good, we figured it’s worth a trip to try.

Old Tree, London 10

Open daily from 8.30am to 10.30pm everyday, this corner shop is bright airy with lots of window space for people to peer inside. We popped in for Sunday brunch and saw a continuous stream of people coming in to peer at the impressive array of pastries to be found.

Old Tree, London 01

Old Tree, London 04

Old Tree, London 05
Popular Taiwanese pastries like sun biscuit 太陽餅.

We had two set meals which had a large bowl of rice, a soup, some pickled vegetable and the chosen meat. In Taiwan, it was always Japanese sushi-rice used and I think they also used it here but it was slightly undercooked.

Old Tree, London 06

Taiwanese Stew Belly Pork with Stew Egg in Soy Sauce 滷肉滷蛋饭. One of our favourite dishes from Taiwan, we ate nearly a bowl of this a day. The diced pork belly here has the perfect mix of fat and meat, is fairly tasty and well seasoned but it’s missing the dark soya sauce here and is a little on the watery side. A thicker denser gravy would have been more desirable. The sweet pickles actually went great with the pork here.

Old Tree, London 07

Taiwanese Stir Fried Chicken in Mint, Chilli, Garlic & Black Sesame Oil with Rice (a.k.a. 3 cups chicken) 台式三杯鸡. Another typical Taiwanese dish but something we didn’t get to try on our trip. Cooked with a cup of soya sauce, sesame oil and rice wine each with ginger, garlic and basil for flavourings, this is a simple dish but done well here especially with using deboned chicken legs. The menu mentioned 'mint' but I think it's meant to be basil.

Taiwanese Deep Fried Chicken in Salt & Pepper 盐酥鸡. A popular street food, it is essentially deep fried breaded chicken with liberal dashings of salt and pepper on it. Not too bad here, it felt quite light and not greasy at all but it did make us very thirsty later.

Old Tree, London 08

For drinks the PigPig had a custard milk tea 布丁奶茶 which is a bit like having a dessert and drink in one – a standard milky tea with a creme caramel pudding dropped into it. Surprisingly nice. I had a cold longan tea 桂圆茶, it was slightly oversweetened, nonetheless refreshing.

Old Tree, London 03

Normally, that would be the end of the food review. But we decided to continue on by taking away some stuff to have for dinner too. We shared some Stir Fried Sate Beef in Gravy with Rice (a.k.a. shacha beef) 沙茶牛肉烩饭 – tenderised beef slices in a shacha based gravy – which was excellent eaten with rice.

Old Tree, London 11

Remember the pastries mentioned earlier? Well the PigPig spent the 10 minutes waiting for the shacha beef hovering around the pastry section trying to decide which to get amongst the multitude of savoury and sweet goodies. In the end, I had to go and pick some out myself. So we had a red bean, a peanut butter and a custard filled Mexican bun, all of which were pretty good and they were quite generous with the fillings although the custard was weirdly dry.

Old Tree, London 02
From left: peanut bun, custard filled Mexican bun, red bean bun

All the above cost £35 for two of us which actually fed us for the whole day.

Food – 5.0
Service – 5.0
Atmosphere – 5.0
Value – 7.0

Ok so the food was pretty tasty in a completely straightforward no-nonsense approach. We had better examples of lu rou fan in Taiwan but to be fair, everything tastes better while on holiday anyway.

Best bit: the pastries.
Worst bit: undercooked rice is pretty sad.

Old Tree 老樹
105 Golders Green Road
Barnet, NW11 8HR
Tel:+44(020)8458 4112

Old Tree on Urbanspoon

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