TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
The term “wabi-sabi” originated from Taoism in the Song Dynasty and was later introduced into Buddhism. Now, it represents a loneliness that inspired an appreciation towards natural imperfections and a world view centered on the total acceptance of transience and impermanence. Just like Chef Kobayashi’s belief in imperfection being a kind of beauty, it aligns with the style of the exterior—the Zen-inspired courtyard, the wavering water jasmine, the faint yellow light from the restaurant itself quietly illuminates the sign: MAO-MEI-ZHAI Unadon.
「貓愛吃魚，來到了一個望梅止渴的屋舍」，這便是貓梅齋的取名由來，著重意象化呈現的小林師傅，將核心精神濃縮於當代藝術家曾冠榮的貓背水墨畫，引領觀者用「心」會意箇中趣味。一體成型的 L 型日式檯前，搭配柔和溫煦的燈光，營造賓至如歸的融洽氛圍，包廂拉門設計則汲取自小林師傅的「哈密瓜」奇想，光影交織重疊下，曖曖內含光的鳳凰羽毛石牆為場域捎來一絲沈穩氣息。
Home From Home
“Cats love to eat fish so they come to a house full of plums to quench their thirst,” this is where the name MAO-MEI-ZHAI came from. Emphasizing on imagery, Chef Kobayashi infuses his core beliefs into contemporary artist Guan Rong Tseng’s ink wash paintings, inviting viewers to understand the fun with their heart. Under the soft, warm light, the L-shaped table front creates a welcoming dining ambience. Interestingly, the sliding door designs of each booth are inspired by Chef Kobayashi’s creative take on cantaloupes. Through the light and shadows, the phoenix feather-like stone wall settles down the tone by adding a touch of calmness to the atmosphere.
A Pure Ecstasy
The diverging branches of the water jasmine symbolizes the inheritance of the mantle. Mainly offering unagi dishes and yakitori, MAO-MEI-ZHAI is led by Chef Kobayashi’s three students—Keira Fan (restaurant manager), Andy Hong (head chef) and Sean Wang (head chef)—who add a youthful vitality to the restaurant. Its relatively affordable price is also another feature that amazed the guests who came to visit. Every day, young eels weighing about 330g are chosen for the two signature dishes—”Kabayaki” and “Shirayaki.” A testament of skills, the unagi is steamed and cooked over fire, creating a texture that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Topped with an overeasy egg, drizzled with Kabayaki sauce and enjoyed with rice from Nagano, Japan, the dish teases our taste buds and reminds us of the purest joy of all times.
The Heart that Never Forgets
Best known for his wit and ingenuity, Chef Kobayashi is both the chef and the owner, who believes that a good restaurant should always be considerate of its guest. A while ago, when the restaurant faced a shortage of staff, Chef Kobayashi decided to take a one month break because he wanted to make sure to provide each guest with the best high-quality service. It is his one ultimate rule: always place his customers as his top priority. Speaking of his future plans, Chef Kobayashi said that his new restaurant is now in preparation; this time, it will be a clash between oriental flavors and French aesthetics. So let us sit back, relax and be prepared, because there is no doubt he will once again touch the hearts of his guests with an array of luxurious, innovative dishes.
貓梅齋 ／台北市大安區大安路一段52巷5號／訂位專線：02 8772 1009