Din Tai Fung make some damn delicious dumplings.
If you’re dotty for dumplings, this place will have you reaching for the chopsticks once more. Taiwanese restaurant Din Tai Fung opened in Covent Garden back in December, and they brought along their secret weapon: the world’s best dumplings.
Yep, their pork xiao long bao – that’s pork dumplings, for those who don’t speak Mandarin – have won praise and accolades across the world, and you can now get your hands on them. Honestly though, I’m surprised it took them this long. Din Tai Fung already has 160 restaurants across the world, but this is their first UK joint.
It pretty much instantly became one of the most-hyped Covent Garden restaurants, and they’ve also got plans to launch in the Centre Point building later in 2019. Oh, and if you’re thinking “ugh, chain restaurant”, rest assured. Two of their locations have earned Michelin stars, and the New York Times once named their original restaurant one of the world’s ten best.
Din Tai Fung’s dumplings are nothing less than an art form. Each one is folded eighteen times, and will be prepared by no fewer than six chefs before it reaches your plate. A hell of a lot of effort for something that’s the size of a golf ball, but it seems to work for them.
Aside from the xiao long bao (if you can turn them down, of course), the restaurant serves a range of steamed buns, vegetarian jiao zi, dan dan noodles, Oriental salads, and fried rice dishes. The dessert menu was once dominated by the red bean xiao long bao with chocolate lava, but a Din Tai Fung classic has just landed on the London menu. The Salted Egg Yolk Custard Lava Buns are a mouthful in every sense of the word, with a cinematic gooeyness making them an audience favourite.
Knowing their London audience a little too well, this branch of Din Tai Fung is the first in the world to have an in-house cocktail bar. There’s a nice range of cocktails available, inspired by Din Tai Fung’s origins in Taiwan, which includes a bubble tea-inspired cocktail with bursting passion fruit bubbles. Cocktails, buns, and world-class xiao long bao: there’s no need to be down in the dumplings about a lack of choice here!
Opening hours: 11am-10pm, Monday to Sunday.
Price: xiao long bao is £10.50 for eight pieces, steamed chicken soup is £11.
More info: on their website.
Also published on Medium.