Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Eating off the Hill: Dumpling? Dumpling! opens on Bank Street

The pandemic has been tough on many restaurants and other retail businesses -- there are more than a few closed storefronts on Ottawa's Bank Street. I'm happy to report though that one new business that has been "coming soon" for most of COVID-19 has made it to a grand opening -- Dumpling? Dumpling!

As you can probably deduce from the name, they serve dumplings. They also have a Nepean location, which I have never been to. I am not a a dumpling connoisseur and I haven't eaten a lot of dumplings in my life, so I can't made any judgements on authenticity or anything. All I can say is whether I liked them, and whether I'd eat them again.

They have a pretty large dumpling-centric menu, with different varieties in the categories of pork, beef, chicken, shrimp and vegetarian. There's also drinks, braised dishes, soup and sides. An order of 15 starts at $13.99 for boiled or steamed, with an $1 upcharge for pan fried or deep fried and if you want multiple flavours in an order.

Stopping by on my way home from work the other day to get some takeout for dinner, my plan was to do the combo for $16.59, which gets you 10 dumplings, a soup and sides. However, as the person ahead of me in line tried to order the combo and was told it was for dine-in only (they were open for that, but no one was taking them up in it) I was forced to change my plans.

So I instead asked for an order of dumplings, pan fried, half pork and Chinese cabbage and half beef and curry onion. I sat down to wait, and watch the gentleman hand-making dumplings behind the counter. Good to see proof they're not just frozen pot stickers from the grocery store. It took about 20 minutes to prepare my order, and I went home to eat.

Getting home, I saw that they had given me beef and coriander instead of beef and curry onion -- I shall strive to enunciate more clearly next time. My order came with a variety of sauces of unknown (to me) provenance (except the soy sauce), chop sticks, a candy and a fortune cookie. With taxes and tip, it was a bit over $20 all-in.

It was certainly filling, although for $20 it should be. Shared with some sides would probably be a good way to go. I tried the sauces but none really did it for me. While not soup-dumpling level, they were juicy as my shirt discovered biting into the first one. I was more strategic with the rest of them. I liked the crisp of the pan frying, and they were flavourful and meaty. A friend commented that they looked thick/doughy; I don't have a lot of basis of comparison but they were fine within my limited dumpling experience. It's definitely a carby dish.

It's a short walk away so I'll definitely try them again, and will do the combo when I safe dining indoors. A filling dish, but I need to discover some sauces I like, and maybe get a side or variety and same half the dumplings for lunch the next day. 

Glad to welcome them to the neighbourhood. They're next to Wolf Down (tasty German/Turkish donair kebab sandwiches), at Bank and James.

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