It’s not often that I go to the Westfield Sydney building other than to simply short-cut through it. To me it has virtually no appeal. It’s clean-cut, it’s geared to high fashion, it lacks soul, and it resembles just about every other Westfield I’ve set foot in. There is one consolation, though, a redeeming feature that’s more about the food rather than the fashion. Yes it’s decked out in that typical Westfield outfit but the choice of eateries is a little off the path of your average food hall.
Din Tai Fung has been going strong down at World Square for quite some time now so it’s great to see an express version open in the next phase of Westfield Sydney. The same drill applies with filling out your order before taking a seat and awaiting the dumpling action, except here you take your buzzer and find your own table in the sprawling communal eating area.
Being an express set-up, the tick-your-box menu is an easy layout of 5 appetisers, 6 dumplings, 3 wok, 3 soup, 8 noodle and 6 rice/combo dishes. Let’s not forget about the 5 dessert options. It’s been a few years since I had a Din Tai Fung xiao long bao (5.9) so it was a no brainer that I try them here. The skins are not as delicate as some and the burst of salty sweet broth is light, flavoursome and very fulfilling.
The next steamer load reveals some fairly ordinary shrimp & pork jiao ze (6.5) but my eyes were set on the vibrant colour of the vegetable wontons (6) wading in spicy sauce. These slippery little suckers are delicious and the sauce is nowhere near as spicy as it appears. A perfect bowl of goodness for a cool autumn day.
Sadly no noodle dishes were available on this visit but there’s enough on the menu to make up for their absence. Progressing on with the dumpling theme I grabbed a serve of shrimp & pork shao mai (9.8) and as I sunk my teeth into the first one I not only burnt the roof of my mouth but the hot broth escaped from a fissure and burst down my chin. Needless to say I was a little more gentle with the next one as I took it easy and drank its soupy nectar before demolishing the meaty innards and crowning prawn.
The black pepper beef (12.8) was a hasty choice when I was told there were no noodles available and sadly it was the runt out of everything ordered. Paying this much for such a measly serving was one thing but the crap-load of tenderiser used on the beef made its texture a rather off-putting. Add in a gloopy and slimy sauce and I’m regretting putting money on something like this when I could have had more dumplings.
Our final steamer of goodies was a mini buns trio (5.5) – one each of a black sesame, red bean and taro. They’re small enough to pop into the mouth and savour the sweet paste within. A cigar-shaped golden red bean roll (2.9) finished the lunch off nicely and here’s hoping my next visit has me trying a few of the noodle dishes.
Update: I have returned to DTF several times since writing this post and tried the cha jiang noodles (12.5). This is one of my all-time favourites and the one they dish up here is pretty good, despite the hefty price tag. Containing minced pork, soya beans and dried bean curd it’s well-worth queueing up for.