Dai Tai Fung ( Mark Two) and do slurp your food !

I’m sure like me, your mother, said things like” Sit up straight, use your knife and fork AND Don’t slurp!” However, I’m sure that in many Asian countries, that this is not the case, no knife and fork ( only chop sticks or fingers) and slurping is the only way to eat your slippery noodles!

Going on from my previous Blog, we were at a loose end on Saturday night and so ventured into Covent Garden, a quick couple of stops on the tube or bus. A visit to the London version of Din Tai Fung was called for.

We found it easily enough a short walk from Rules ( London’s oldest restaurant) near the Covent Garden Piazza. There were a few people waiting outside, but the booking process is easy ( there isn’t one) but give your name to the hostess ( she who is wrapped in layers of clothing standing outside), she will take your name and mobile number, inform you of the approximate wait, and she will text when the table is ready! Therefore, one can decamp to a local bar OR just go inside to their bar! London is only the 2nd Din Tai Fung that has a bar and according to Himself the prices were very reasonable ( much more so than in any of the surrounding theatres)!

So, we sat in the bar area, where could half see part of the kitchen and all of the comings and goings, a great people watching place ! Before we had finished our glass of wine we were being summoned, Table was ready.

The interior of the London Din Tai Fung, was slightly less functional or cafeteria style than the Hong Kong branch but the general idea was the same. A pictorial menu, a menu ordering sheet complete with pen and a drinks menu. The wait staff who were very efficient, were on the whole, Asian but not necessarily Chinese.

Time out in Hong Kong

It had been many years since I was last in Hong Kong, 20, to be precise, and although I love the hustle and bustle, not sure if I could live here, just too many people. Over 7 million, almost twice as many who live in the whole of New Zealand.IMG_1488

Himself and I were here as part of our Far East trip, using it more or less as a base, to go to Mission Hills, China, ( for golf) and then onto Vietnam and Cambodia and used the hotel as storage for golf clubs. Our dining experience, hotel wise ( it was close to the airport, as lugging golf clubs around was something to be avoided) was pretty much a disaster, under cooked chicken as well as an interminable wait for it. But Hey Ho, in Hong Kong one is truly spoilt for choice and as such we only ventured into the  hotel restaurant  once, and that was only because we were a bit late to eat elsewhere. It seems that Hong Kongers eat early !

So the hotel options should be quickly forgotten as the rest was excellent.

There is in Hong Kong a Branch of  Din Tai Fung. Din Tai Fung, is to be found in London, New York, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia and China and of course the original , Taiwan ( Taipei). The company was founded as a cooking oil company in 1958, but diversified in 1972 as a dumpling and noodle restaurant, and today the Hong Kong branch, which is basically a cafeteria has a Michelin Star.


I think we went to the Taipei version back in  1995, but can’t be sure, but I have now been to the Hong Kong branch twice, and this the second visit with himself and was not disappointed. ( I did warn him, that I was taking him to a Michelin Starred cafeteria, he was dubious!) However, I have to try the London branch which is to be found in Covent Garden. Both Giles Coren and Tom Parker Bowles (renowned food critics) are both smitten.

Unfortunately, there are no reservations, so be prepared to queue, or they will give you a queueing time update if you give them a call. But I can assure you the wait is worthwhile.

For our Hong Kong visit, we did not have to wait, as we were early, having a pre late night , 12 hour flight dinner. Just as on my previous visit, we walked past the kitchen where all were gainfully employed and in harmony. There did not seem to be any shouting or histrionics ( à la Gordon Ramsey).

We were seated quickly and given a table number and a menu. We then had to give the waitress our order, which was also in number form, rather than saying the name of the dish, and with that she disappeared before re-appearing with a pot of Chinese tea.

There is no order to how and when the food arrives, as it is all cooked to order, and it depends on the preparation/cooking time as to when it is served.

We ordered,

  1. Beans with Pork
  2. Spicy Peppered Pork
  3. Saucy Noodles with peanut sauce, Taiwan Style
  4. Dumplings with Beans and Pork
  5. Dumplings with Shrimps

So all that remains is for me to head on down to China town, ( or to Hoo Hing at Hanger Lane, West London) to buy supplies or maybe even better go to Covent Garden and try out the London version of this Iconic restaurant chain!!

Indian Accents, and not a curry in sight!

Once upon a time Himself had a favourite restaurant, the only trouble was it, was in New Delhi. Not exactly a round the corner. But help was at hand as eldest daughter lived in New Delhi, which is exactly how we came to love Indian Accents.

It was located in a hotel called the Lhodi in a suburb of New Delhi. I hesitate to call it a smart suburb, as Delhi has smart suburbs surrounded by squalor and homelessness and in the midst of all of this chaos is Indian Accents, an oasis of calm. Consequently for several years on each of our visits this was a treat to which we looked forward to . And now there is an out post, well two actually, one in New York and one in London. And so it was recently that we ventured forth with some friends to see if it lived up to the Indian Accents of our memories .

And it did! Our friends, being of the outward going types, took it upon themselves to inform the restaurant that we were VIP’s of a sort and were hopping for the same standards of food and service that we had come to expect in New Delhi. And they lived up to expectations, both in food and service.

We all opted for the tasting menu ( there goes the diet for another week)!

We declined the wine pairings however, but to give rough translation of the menu is as follows.

5 waters, we were told to eat/ drink these in the correct order, from right to left. We think they were tamarind, mint, pumpkin, coconut sherbet, pineapple with maybe allspice and ginger, but whatever they were, they were delicious. I think I might write that word several times.

These were followed by tandoori salmon and chicken in a cornet along with pork ribs

The service was exemplary throughout and our dining experience made our taste buds think again, as to what were we’re eating.

After our 5 waters, spicy drink/soup, tandoori salmon, chicken in a cornet and pork ribs, we were treated to an Indian version of Trous Normande ( a Norman hole, which is a sorbet made with calvados). This was Anaar Chuski translated roughly as Pomegranate sorbet!

It was then that we had a choice, the boys chose the lamb chops and the girls the sea bass. In hindsight the lamb chops were by far the better choice, the sea bass was absolutely fine BUT the lamb chops were outstanding! Next time I will definitely have those. Both of these were served with ( I think) blue cheese Naan, black dal and a raita.

And so onto dessert, to be honest I’m not a big dessert fan and even less so Indian and Never Middle Eastern ! But I have to say, I did eat this dessert and enjoyed it!

After all what can be wrong with a treacle tart and ice cream ? Does it live up to our hype? Yes! Will we go back? Yes and Yes again ! Can’t wait!