loti eats | din tai fung
After a lot of rumours and a long wait the first Din Tai Fung is now open in London. In case you’re not already familiar with Din Tai Fung, it’s a multinational chain originally founded in Taiwan that specialses in dim sum, particulalry Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings). It’s a bit of a foodie nerd favourite but when we’ve visited them in other cities, Shanghai and Hong Kong, we were always massively disappointed. How does the London branch compare then? Well, we’re glad to say we loved it.
There were big queues when Din Tai Fung first opened but things seem to have calmed down already, with only a half hour wait when we went. It’s walk-ins only but with close to 250 covers you (hopefully) shouldn’t have to queue too long and there is the first ever Din Tai Fung cocktail bar inside, serving Taiwanese-inspired cocktails and Chinese tea while you wait.
Inside there’s a big open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work and dumplings steaming away, plus Din Tai Fung’s signature ‘oriental wooden interiors’. Everything really is made from scratch here so they’re right to show it off.
We completely ignored every other section of the menu in favour of our true goal – eating as many dumplings as possible. The Xiao Long Bao here are indeed incredible; the skins just the right thickness, the soup full of flavour and the filling fresh as you like. The crab, pork and chilli version are the best but we’d say not to bother with the truffle and pork ones as they were our least favourite and the most expensive at four for £22.
Probably our favourite dumplings of the night were the prawn and pork shao mai. Made with a fresh prawn topping off the dumpling and with soup inside too, these were a near on perfect package and the ones we’d hurry back to order in a flash. We also loved the pork and veg wontons in black vinegar and chilli oil, and the crispy golden prawn pancake. For dessert it’s worth trying the red bean and chocolate xiao long bao too.
In early 2019, there’ll be another one opening at Centre Point, which is where it was originally due to be opening first. Din Tai Fung is off to a strong start in London so don’t be surprised if there’s news of more openings to come next year.
Looking for more amazing restaurants in London? See our guide to the best London restaurants we are are raving about right now here.
5 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8PT