Meet Me at the W: The 543 Tour of The Kitchen Table

Do you like pizza? Of course you do. How about a gourmet pizza made with the finest ingredients, lovingly by world-class chefs, served in a yellow-themed room that feels so comfortably like your own kitchen that you almost feel ease enough to put your elbows on the table and walking over to check what’s in the fridge?

At The Kitchen Table, the W’s 10th floor Western-style restaurant, we think the “W” stands for “warmth”. It’s our favorite brunch spot for good reason. At The Kitchen Table, luxurious champagne brunch stretch hours into the afternoon. It’s the kind of brunch you save for only the most special of occasions, when by the time you’ve finished downing your (eighth? ninth? who’s counting?) glass of champagne and eaten that last bit of macaron, you realize that it’s almost time for dinner again.

So what exactly is in the fridge at The Kitchen Table? Chef Martin McLeod knows. As the executive chef of the hotel’s 10th floor gastronomy (including Woobar, WETbar and The Kitchen Table), we stopped by the say hello and ask a few questions in between his preparations, which include full-service buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner (for both hotel guests and non-guests) as well as a la carte ordering and the aforementioned champagne brunch.

Martin McLeod, Executive Chef, W Taipei

543: Can you explain how summer at The Kitchen Table has been, food-wise?

Martin: Summertime so far, this year, we’ve had a very good year for fruits and vegetables, as the typhoon has been staying away for the most part. Actually, we’ve been trying to go more local: water bamboo has been something we’ve had a lot of fun with this summer—fruits, watermelon, of course, love fresh fruits—nowadays, it’s coming into the peach and the plum season, in the Central mountains of Taiwan, there are many excellent farms where you can get them now; crab, of course, yesterday we had a lot of planning for the autumn crab season.

543: What are you excited about for the upcoming months at The Kitchen Table?

Martin: Well, something we’re extremely excited about doesn’t even have to do anything with Taiwanese produce—but rather, American beef, and the fact that it’s coming back. We are excited to introduce US beef throughout the hotel, even in the buffet carving station. We’re looking forward to some great tasting dishes.

Though The Kitchen Table is largely known for its Western dishes (Asian-style dishes are available at all buffets, but we would rather head up to YEN upstairs if we’re wanting Asian cuisine) they make sure to pay homage to Taiwan, cleverly woven into its bright, cheerful decor. Large shelves at the entrance display an assortment of Chinese cooking tools found in most traditional Taiwanese kitchens; we spotted an Asian bamboo steamer or two. The kitchen tools, along with representing the restaurant’s location, also help to emphasize that everything is fresh-made in the kitchen.

We wanted to take The Kitchen Table up on this claim, and so we present: How to Make an Artichoke, Chicken, and Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza, The Kitchen Table style. Here’s the evidence: no frozen pies (or frozen anything) here. Try to refrain from drooling.

So what can you do to make The Kitchen Table your kitchen table (if your kitchen table happens to be a collection of expertly designed counters laden with some of the finest dishes in Taipei, constantly refilling) if only for a few, sweet hours?

We spoke with Teresa, manager of the Kitchen Table, on how to do just that. Hint: make reservations, and do it early.

543: Hello Teresa! Thank you for meeting with us during your busy day. Can you give short description of your job?

Teresa: Sure–My job mostly involves overseeing the menu at The Kitchen Table, as
coming in to supervise day to day operations, and of course, taking care of customers if any special needs arise: we try to meet the needs of all of diners here.

543: We heard that the Sunday champagne brunch is extremely popular. How far in advance do you recommend making reservations?

Teresa: For our Sunday brunch, I would recommend making reservations at least 1-2 months in advance. It sounds outrageous, but many people like to come on Sundays, their day off, and gather with friends and family. In addition, every Sunday we have Taipei Beats (a pool party with DJ) where people can buy tickets (800NT/each, call for inquires) to come to the pool and hang out for the afternoon, so many people like to reserve brunch at The Kitchen Table and then afterwards, head to the pool.

543: How do you decide what’s on the menu at The Kitchen Table?

Teresa: We like to go according to the seasons, so right now, we have a specially designed summer menu. In addition, we occasionally invite chefs from other countries (ex: Thailand) that come during a certain period to showcase their own cuisine, along with some special Taiwanese dishes.

So with all this talk of The Kitchen Table, who are we to give recommendations without personal experience? We laboriously went through the process of trying out a meal at The Kitchen Table. Though breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are available daily, we specifically chose Bubblissimo, the W’s famous champagne brunch; wanting to try the famed lazy Sunday luxuriousness for ourselves. When the first thing you hear upon being seated is, “Will it be champagne or rosé to start you off, Miss?” it’s hard to be disappointed. Here we’ve included a few snaps of what you’ll enjoy at a typical Kitchen Table buffet (make sure you specify pool-side seating when you reserve, if you want it).

543 Recommends:

Highlights of The Kitchen Table Brunch
Mon-Sat, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner available, please call for specific inquiries and reservations

1. Salads. As we’ve griped many a time, it’s surprisingly hard to find a good salad in Taipei of the non-iceberg variety. Indulge in the W’s array of fresh salads, including rather delicious renditions of Caesar and German Potato Salads.

2. Mini macarons: Who doesn’t love miniature things? The cutest desserts in the world become even cuter when they’re reduced to little bites like these. We recommend the rose.

3. Fresh made pizza: See pictures above. I’ll race you to the last slice.

4. Cheese plate: It’s also surprisingly hard to find a good cheese plate in Taiwan that doesn’t include “cheddar slices” as part of its inventory . Given many Taiwanese are lactose intolerant, this isn’t a surprising dilemma; just a frustrating one. End your brunch on a good note by slicing a plate of the W’s cheesy offerings, paired with dried fruits and some of their house-made breads.

5. Champagne: Of course, this one is a given, but you’ll only find it at Bubblissimo, the W’s Sunday-only champagne brunch. When it’s free-flow, who’s to say you can’t have a glass…or six? (1500NT without alcohol, 1900 free-flow champagne, noon-3pm only).

Photograpy by UP AGAINST THE WALL ASIA and Stephanie Hsu


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cin commented

The champagne brunch sounds amazing!

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