Din Tai Fung was originally a cooking oil company, over the years it developed into a restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan. Specialising in xiao long bao (soup dumpling) and now its a global franchise.
Din Tai Fung recently opened a restaurant in Covent Garden a short walk away from the tube station, and soon will be opening a second branch in Tottenham Court Road this year.
After all the uproar from friends and family, I wanted to check the restaurant out for myself. I invited my friend Kiran out to see what she thought too, I left work on the dot as I was anticipating the queue to be long as I had been warned! When I arrived the queue wasn’t as big as I thought it would be, it didn’t take long until I was at the front of the queue. I waited in the bar area, a waiter came by and gave me a glass of tap water which I thought was rather attentive, it wasn’t long until Kiran arrived – they quickly spoke in their earpieces to indicate for a table for two.
Din Tai Fung
We were led through the bar, and we past the window where the chefs were busily wrapping the delicious looking dim sums, all in white aprons and hats. The restaurant is spacious with authentic taiwanese ornaments surrounding the main dining area, there were also more seats downstairs in total the restaurant has capacity for 250!
We were amazed by how quick the service was, when seated our waiter bought out small dishes with thinly sliced ginger for our sauce, we had the choice of soy sauce and vinegar which sat on our table. The menus were easy to use and the images helped to make everything clear – Taiwanese and English writing to associate which dish was what. There was a vast range of different dishes not just dim sum; noodles, rice, soup dishes too – to order we checked off the quantity of each item on the list.
We thought it would be wise to share our dishes – 8 pcs of Xiao Long Bao, 4 Prawn & Angled Gourd Xiao Long Ba, 2 Chicken Bun and 1 bowl of Vegetable & Pork Wonton Noodle Soup.
Pork Xiao Long Bao – Din Tai Fung’s world-famous dim sum features a minimum of 18 exquisite folds and it is made with juicy minced pork wrapped in a delicate dough skin, which is pleated, twisted and then steamed – this was the best dish we had, although it was silly of me to dip it in soya sauce rather than vinegar, I reckon it would have enhanced it’s flavours more but nevertheless it was still delicious!
Prawn & Angled Gourd Xiao Long Ba – earthy taste not our favourite but very juicy! When we picked it up with our chopsticks you could see the broth slumping in the dough.
Chicken Bun – Diced oyster mushrooms and premium chicken encased in a fluffy bun – we personally thought the bun was rather dense and the filling wasn’t as flavoursome and enticing as we were expecting.
Vegetable & Pork Wonton Noodle Soup – delicious. I love the noodles although we had a difficult time keeping them on our chopsticks they were so slippery, I had to get aid from the spoon! It was one messy dish but very tasty!
Of course we had to try some of their cocktails! I’m afraid I don’t remember the names of our choices! I know one thing for sure, they were strong!
I couldn’t leave without trying one of their desserts, I was tempted with the choice of chocolate dumplings or Mango Pomelo Sago (Chilled) – but of course I decided to go for the Mango dessert; this tropical dessert had the resemblance of a freshly peeled mango and the fresh pomelo sacs offered a burst of flavour with every bite, it was refreshing after the different flavours of dumplings.
After hearing divided reviews about this restaurant I was keen to try it for myself. We both enjoyed our experience here however it didn’t have that wow factor – some dishes more delicious than others and we found that the quality varied quite a lot. Nevertheless if you want to try this restaurant we strongly recommend their famous Xiao long bao, and their vegetable & wonton noodle soup, but perhaps have a bowl to yourself – we could have easily eaten it by ourselves. The bill wasn’t cheap we paid a total of £70, including service charge. The service was efficient, very attentive we stayed as long as we liked.
Din Tai Fung’s opening hours are from Monday to Sunday 11am to 10pm.