Din Tai Fung Covent Garden
I waited many years for Din Tai Fung to arrive in London. There were countless rumours of one opening for ages, and the time finally arrived in December 2018. I eagerly awaited but also managed to try the popular chain whilst in Hong Kong Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong. The rumours that the new London outlet would open near the Crossrail of Tottenham Court Road, but ended up in Covent Garden. As expected, the much-hyped restaurant had tremendous queues during the first quarter of its opening.
Did you know they started off by selling cooking oil back in 1972? The family eventually decided to open half the shop to sell Xiao Long Bao’s (steamed pork dumplings) in Taiwan and word of mouth made them popular.
Din Tai Fung is located near the square in the hub of Covent Garden, opposite a Natwest Bank. Rope poles are seen by the entrance for the anticipated queues. Their logo on a red vinyl plaque, against the white painted walls. Visiting on a Friday evening with no reservations, I managed to walk-in with only 2 groups in front of me in the queue with no problem.
You walk into the spacious establishment round, and square natural beech wood tables and black metal chairs for larger groups. Din Tai Fung is a 250 seater restaurant, you see the dumpling makers in the see-through glass kitchen pleating the infamous xiaolongbaos wearing gloves and face mask.
Seated under a window panel where the smaller tables of dining for two, the waiter placed the menu for us. Laminated instructions of the how-to eat xiaolongbao process is on hand for you, the tip is to dip your bao in the vinegar, place the delicate dumpling on a spoon, poke a hole to let the soup sip and finally put it in your mouth in one go.
Xiao Long Bao
It’s a given to order their signature xiao long bao’s, a wide variety is available with prices ranging from £10.50 onwards that come in portions of 4 or 8 pieces.
Other dishes on the menu are greens, steamed buns, other dumplings, fried rice, soups, noodles, won ton, and sweet dessert buns.
The dumpling noodle soup comes with a clear well balanced in flavour broth. Noodles are neatly placed in the bowl and spring onions scattered on the surface.
Sautéed String Beans is cooked in plenty of garlic a simple but tasty dish to eat between the dumplings and noodles.
The bill came to a total of £75, a lot steeper then eating at the outlets in Asia.
For more information visit Din Tai Fund Covent Garden website.
5-6 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8PS
Tel : +44 (0) 2030 343 888
Monday to Thursday: 12 noon to 10 pm
Friday: 12 noon – 10.30 pm
Saturday: 11 am – 10.30 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm