Review: Fat Dumpling
Giulietta Avenia | On 28, Jun 2014
I love dumpling parlours. A whole restaurant devoted to perfecting those round, moist bundles of joy is definitely a worthy venture. Assigning a whole menu to different flavour combinations and offering it poached, steamed or fried heightens the experience and elevates the status of the dumpling.
There are quite a few restaurants in Fortitude Valley that are dedicated to dumplings, whether they are of Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese origin.
Brunswick Social offers delicious steamed or lacy fried dumplings alongside an enticing cocktail menu. Their prawn and coriander dumplings are standouts as are their BBQ pork buns.
Harajuku Gyoza is a personal favourite of mine, with their grilled duck gyoza and golden chicken karaage. Their chant while pouring sakÃ© would have to be one of the funniest, most enjoyable dining experiences in Brisbane and their interior is red hot (literally).
So when a new restaurant devoted to dumplings opened in the Valley recently, I was keen to check it out and see how it compared to the competition.
Fat Dumpling is situated directly across from Brunswick Social on Ann St, which is a rather bold move. The restaurant is long and narrow and the chopstick mural on the exposed brick walls adds an element of quirk and fun.
Fat Dumplingâ€™s menu is traditional with precedence given to the dumplings that come poached, steamed or fried. The extras are extensive with favourites such as salt and pepper squid, spring rolls, shallot pancakes and different greens begging to be tried.
One of my favourite dumplings to order is the Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumplings, so naturally we ordered Fat Dumplingâ€™s pork variety. Although they looked appealing in the bamboo basket, they were surprisingly, and sadly, dry inside with very little broth. If, like me, you love Xiao Long Bao then I must recommend Bamboo Basket. They are beautifully pleated and itâ€™s a tough decision between the agonies of waiting to eat them versus the agony of burning your tongue on the piping hot, flavoursome broth inside.
The vegetarian spring rolls were tasty with tofu, mushrooms and spring onion forming the bulk of the filling. Freshly rolled and served with sweet chilli sauce, they were crispy and finger lickinâ€™ good.
Anyone who knows me will know that I am a sucker for salt and pepper squid. Fat Dumplingâ€™s squid, whilst initially tender, quickly hardened and was not the plate most often returned to. The liberal sprinklings of cracked pepper was also not as intriguing as the spice blends found on calamari in other Chinese restaurants. Some of my favourite salt and pepper calamari in Brisbane would have to be at New Shanghai in Queens Plaza. The pieces are huge, soft and tossed with fried onion and chilli making them tender and crunchy all in the one bite.
Whilst Fat Dumpling isnâ€™t the best dumpling bar in inner Brisbane, there is no need to fret. There are already so many great Chinese restaurants and with more constantly opening, the standard can only rise. As for me, this has simply inspired me to return to my old favourites, and soon!
Who:Â Fat Dumpling
Where:Â 368 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
For more details visit their websiteÂ