Cindy and I spent Thursday night at the movies and decided to check out Din Tai Fung for a quick pre-Incredibles meal. Din Tai Fung comes with a lot of hype - the Hong Kong restaurant has had a Michelin Star and they've gradually conquered the world, with branches in the US, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and beyond. The Melbourne outpost opened at Emporium a few years ago to massive queues and lots of enthusiasm (see the blog review list at the bottom of this post). Either the hype has died down a bit or we picked a good time - either way there was no queue when we turned up early on a Thursday evening.
The menu is huge, with a decent number of vego options spread across it. We made our selections, ticked the boxes on the menu form and got stuck in. There's beer, but the non-alcoholic drinks are more interesting - I went for a lemon iced tea ($4.50), while Cindy went for the Thai bubble milk tea ($6.90).
Food-wise we started with two vegetarian buns ($3 each) and a serve of the spicy vegetarian wontons ($11.90). The buns were puffy and soft and filled with a combination of tofu, mushroom and spinach. They were decent, but were outshone by the wontons, little parcels of goodness served in a zingy Sichuan sauce. My dish of the night.
Next up was a serve of the spinach with garlic ($14.90) and the vegetarian dumplings ($10.90). The dumplings were delicately made and filled with the same mix as the buns. The spinach was fine - heavy on the garlic, which is crucial.
We had a pretty decent meal at Din Tai Fung - the service was super efficient and the food was solid. It falls short of our go-to dumpling place Shandong Mama - their vego dumplings are both more interesting and better value ($15 for 12). Still, Din Tai Fung is a good option if you're looking for a speedy city dinner around Emporium - just be prepared to pay a bit of a surcharge because of the restaurant's reputation.
There are heaps of blog reviews of Din Tai Fun - see Hungry Cookie, Daisyum, Awwum Productions, BLK's Food Blog, Jojo and Lili, Gastrology (freebie), The World Loves Melbourne (freebie), The Dear Luncher, The Penguin Eats, Melbourne Culinary Business District, That Foodie, Short and Stout, Espresso and Matcha, BLK's Food Blog, Ferris Wheel Flights, Life's Little Temptations, The G Bear, Let's Omnom, Linnie Eats All the Food, Mango Macarons, The Food Joy, Melbourne Glutton, Delightfully Tasty, New International Students, Barley Blog and MEL: HOT OR NOT for positive write-ups and some more ambivalent reviews on Howie's Melbourne Food Blog, The Epicurist, Wander Wonder Wanton, The New Fave, Melbourne Food Paparazza, Sweet and Sour Fork, Wandering Mint, The Escort and the Thief, Gastronomic Gems and Tian Ming.
Din Tai Fung
Level 4, Emporium, 287 Lonsdale St
menus: one, two
Accessibility: There's a flat entry and a spacious interior. We ordered at the table and paid at a high counter. Toilets are gendered and accessible.