Review of 'Din Tai Fung'

Having visited the Taiwanese chain “Din Tai Fung” in Manila (see my review here) and remembering it so fondly I was happy to learn they had finally opened a restaurant on Henrietta Street, on the south side of Covent Garden. I was not disappointed.

Eating Utensils

There is a no reservations policy at Din Tai Fung which often means a wait for a table. After they take your name and can take your mobile number leaving you to wander around until you are texted your table is ready. This is an efficient and quite relaxed system. We had to wait about 20 minutes on an early Saturday evening which was quite good as it gave us a time to walk around Covent Garden a bit. Once you receive confirmation of your table you have 10 minutes to return to the restaurant before it is lost.

Interior

The interior of the restaurant is cool and modern with rock and wood walls hung with Asian art. This does, however, mean it can get quite noisy. As appears to be typical for the chain, there is a glass room in which you can observe the chefs preparing the dumplings with great efficiency. All of the dumplings here are prepared from hand and served fresh.

Menu and Order Form

The many-paged menu is full of various options but helpfully includes many photos but the choice of what to have can be a bit daunting for the first time dumpling-er. I would suggest you at least have their signature “Xiao Long Bao” (soup) pork dumplings which, though fairly small, full of flavour. You check off what you want on a form provided alongside the menu and dishes are delivered when they are ready.

We started with “Spinach with Garlic” (this is “Chinese spinach”; £7.80) which was quite good but lacked a bit of flavour (normally I would want to have hoi sin sauce for flavour but we were encouraged by the helpful staff to have garlic instead).

Spinach with Garlic

This was followed by “Crispy Pork Wanton” (£7.50) which were absolutely delicious and delivered to the table piping hot – Crunchy with a big risk of burning because they were so good we just couldn't wait! The hoi-sin dipping sauce added much needed tang to the flavour.

Crispy Pork Wanton

Next up was the “Pork Xiao Long Bao” (8 for £14.50) which were absolutely delicious and, again, piping hot (something that would be repeated over and over again for us with each dish prepared to order). The hot pork liqueur around the inner pork meat was full of flavour. The only complaint I would have is that they were a bit small…

Pork Xiao Long Bao (8)

We decided to order one of our favourite dim sum dishes “Char Siew Bao (Bun)” (3 for £9.00) but these turned out to be the disappointment of the meal with the buns all wrong for this dish. They should be fluffy and easy to tear apart but here they were a pastry (like many of the dumplings served at Din Tai Fung) which is not quite right and, horror of horrors, the pastry was slightly UNDER done. The pork filling was bland and a bit dry.

Char Siew Bun (3)

The “Prawn Pork Shao Mai” (8 for £14.50) were very pretty with the dumplings in the shape of a volcano (though difficult to remove from their paper). These were the largest of the dumplings we ordered and had a tasty though underwhelming flavour. It is here the recommended dipping sauce of shredded ginger (provided when you first order) mixed with soy sauce really helped.

Prawn Pork Shao Mai (8)

The final bill came to £61.09 for the two of us (including tea and a 12.5% service charge automatically added to the bill) which was a bit steep though for the amount of food we had it is not bad. Certainly when we return we will not be ordering so much but I was very keen to try a lot of the dishes. What did appear to be missing on the menu was the “pot stickers” which I very much enjoyed from Din Tai Fung in Manilla so I am hoping they eventually appear on the menu…

Good quality, delicious dumplings (with one or two disappointments)…at a price. This is not your average dumpling shop so expect to pay a bit more for the quality you receive. The staff are courteous, surprisingly patient and very friendly. Be sure to have a look at the chefs preparing the dumplings…they are used to people staring at them.

Dumpling Preparation

Rating:

Review Date: 2019-08-10


Cuisine: Chinese

Address: 5 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8PT ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Covent Garden

Location: London (England) - Covent Garden

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3034 3888

URL: https://www.dintaifung-uk.com/