Dinner at Din Tai Fung. Now, I've heard the name bandied about before. Apparently DTF is know for its dumplings and has a bit of a cult status.
As such, I was expecting a tasty dinner. Located in the food court area, it did seem one of the more popular places to eat. Although it was not yet 6pm, there were already several families tucking into their steamed goodies.
Having spent the previous night studying its menu, I knew what we wanted to order. When I was paying for the order, I thought "ouch!". Surely, two serves of dumplings and one beef noodle soup doesn't cost almost $30?! But it did. Sydney. Only in Sydney... that's all I'll say about the price... for now.
We were given one of them beeper thingies which would let us know when the food was ready. And not everything would come at the same time.
Firstly, pork xiao long bao ($5.80 for four). A touch on the small side, these were. However, they were piping hot inside, with a nice broth and minced pork filling. These were nice, and of the dishes that we ordered, I'd say this was the most value for money.
Next was the exhorbitantly priced shrimp and pork shao mai ($9.80). This was an utter rip off. Four small dumplings with a shrimp on top. Nothing special about it. I have no idea why this was so expensive... was it the shrimp? I mean, it's just shrimp. If the dumplings came with a large prawn, I'd understand the higher price. Plus, I couldn't help have an immature chuckle at the rather bulbous appearance of the dumplings.
Lastly, the Lawyer got a bowl of braised beef noodle soup ($12.80). This was also slightly underwhelming. A smaller-than-average serve, with egg noodles and four exact pieces of braised beef. While this tasted fine, there was nothing exceptional about it. The beef was tender and the flavour was deep and beefy with a hint of star anise. It was decorated with a small pathetic amount of spring onions.
Food - 7
Ambience - 7
Service - 6.5
Price - 5
My thoughts are:
1. Rip off.
2. Small serves. Everything about the food at DTF screams "we're maximising our profit at your expense".
3. Reasonably tasty food, but nothing exceptional. Nothing to justify the higher prices.
4. Definitely do not understand why it's so popular. Is it just that Sydney punters know no better?
5. Avoid. I'm sure there are better places for dumplings.
6. Did I mention, rip off?
Din Tai Fung
Level G, Shop 6
80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Telephone: 02 9692 0791