Review: Fat Dumpling (Brisbane, QLD)

368 Brunswick Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
+61 7 3195 1040
http://www.fatdumplingbar.com/

When a white Tinder match recommends a quasi-hipster dumpling restaurant in Fortitude Valley, I’m not normally one to pay attention. Bitch please, dumpling restaurants are meant to be cheap and nasty (in an endearing way, of course) and if I have to pay more than $10 for twelve dumplings, then we have a problem! However, this particular match seemed to know a fair bit about food so I decided to add Fat Dumpling to my list of places to visit in Brisbane.

I had not plan to go there the last time I was in Brisbane, but Greg and I had been drinking a fair bit after dinner and soon we were hungry again. We just so happened to be in the ‘Valley so I suggested we try out the dumpling eatery – after all, we’re both suckers for a good plate of dumplings.

Fat Dumpling’s name reminds me of that SBS show from the late 90s/early noughties, Fat Pizza. I’m not sure Habib and Claudia McPherson’s antics was what the owners of Fat Dumpling had in mind when they went about naming their northern Chinese restaurant. But whatever, it worked. Throw in a diminutive yet refined space in the heart of Fortitude Valley (but slightly away from the riff raff) and you have a place that’s packed to the rafters even at 9PM on a Saturday night. Thankfully, Greg and I were able to squeeze into a table, but not without some curious glances from the predominantly western clientele – we were the only two Asians in the entire place.

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I don’t know why the chopsticks instructions are printed in Cyrillic…

Pan-fried pork dumplings (six for $7.50)
Pan-fried pork dumplings (six for $7.50)

We ordered a few plates of dumplings to share. First up, the ubiquitous pan-fried pork dumplings. Like the restaurant’s name suggests, the dumplings here are massive in size. They were also big on flavour too – the beautifully crispy pork dumplings had a ridiculously tasty filling thanks to the generous doses of garlic, ginger and chives in it.

Poached fish dumplings (six for $8)
Poached fish dumplings (six for $8)

The poached fish dumplings were filled with minced white fish, chives and ginger, making them a bit more delicate than the moreish pork dumplings yet nevertheless still tasty as hell.

Xiao long bao (eight for $11.80)
Xiao long bao (eight for $11.80)

The XLBs were nice, but paled in comparison to the first two dumplings. For one thing, the broth-meat ratio was a bit of a miss at times – some dumplings held sufficient broth while others held no broth at all! We were also not given spoons to hold each dumpling with so eating them was an exercise in all manners of awkwardness. The skins were also a tad on the thick side. One good thing about these? At least the pork filling was delicious.

We were tempted to try mains such as the seemingly popular soy poached pork belly and more adventurous dumpling dishes such as the chicken and asparagus dumplings but our inelastic stomachs stopped us. We were happy with our meals and promised to return again. Yes, Fat Dumpling does cater to a more western demographic and yes, the price points for the dumplings are a bit dearer ($7.50 could get you twice the amount of dumplings at a cheap dumpling joint in Melbourne) but I’ve yet to find a place in Brisbane that make dumplings on par with these babies. Until that day comes, I’ll keep coming here for my dumpling fix when I’m in Queensland.

Fat Dumpling on Urbanspoon

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