Taiwan Village is a quaint and very endearing restaurant specialising in good Taiwan/Hunan/Sichaun food.
This charming little restaurant is on the busy main road near West Brompton station and could easily be missed so do keep an eye out for the maroon canopy and a nose out for the garlic.
As soon as you enter it is obvious that this is run by a lady with passion, and her name (rather aptly considering its 85 Lillie Road location), is Lily. Tables are packed quite closely together, plants and dark wood paneling create cosy nooks for small tables, and the ladies working the room couldn’t be more welcoming and attentive. It all feels very much like your beloved local.
To start the ball rolling and to kick start the metabolism, the light and crunchy deep-fried French beans (£5.50), the tender little hot and spicy ribs (£5.80) and the smoky pepper chicken (£8.80) are all adorned with the three musketeers of this type of cuisine: garlic, spring onion and chilli. The fried meat dumplings (£4.90) are wholesomely plump and juicy with a crisp outer skin.
Based entirely on the waitress’ favourite dishes, General Tso’s chicken (£6.50) is steeped in hot, spicy, gingery sauce with a hit of vinegar, and the pan-fried beef with three different types of chilli (signalled as ‘not toned down in any way’ on the menu - £8) is not as lethal as you might expect and is in fact, melt-in-the-mouth strips of beef fillet in a dark, smoky, rich and unctuous sauce. The ma po tofu (£5.90), a Sichuanese classic, features silken tofu nestled amongst minced pork, spring onions and chilli bean - a warmingly spicy and comforting dish .
As an accompaniment, and as often is the case with these fragrant aromatic flavours, steamed rice (£2.50) is all you need. It should be noted that portion sizes here are not as vast as we have come to expect from this cuisine, which just means you can try more things.
A bottle of the house red, Vin Noble Joanis Merlot-Granache, is perfectly palatable and very reasonable at just £12. A Tsing-Tao beer will set you back £2.80 and there are also some spirits, liqueurs and champagne to choose from.
The Last Word
A lovely all-rounder of a restaurant, the only down-side is that it’s not in the best of locations. But as The Rolling Stones would say, you can’t always get what you want.