Sherman's Food Adventures: Dinesty Dumpling House (Gilbert Road)

Dinesty Dumpling House (Gilbert Road)

Sometimes ol' favourites are forgotten when we are distracted by all of the newer and shiner restaurants that are available.  However, it is always good to remember the standbys.  You know, the places where it is a given that you'll find good familiar food that you've always enjoyed.  One of these places is Dinesty, with its XLBs and mix of Taiwanese and Shanghainese dishes.  I've been to every location except for the one near the Olympic Oval in Richmond.  With an invite in hand, it was as good as any time to revisit an ol' friend dressed in new digs on Gilbert Road.

I've actually seen this location before when I was picking up some drinks from the adjacent Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea (more on that later).  I consider this the most appealingly appointed one as the decor is modern and the tables are spaced well-apart.  Of course, the thing to get here is the Steamed Pork Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao).  These featured a medium-thick dumpling skin that was delicate with some elasticity.  Inside, the tender and slightly loose pork filling was blessed with a good amount of sweet meaty soup.  Solid XLBs.

One thing I never order, but I got to try this time was the Steamed Green Vegetable & Egg Dumplings.  Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed these more than the XLBs!  No joke!  The dumpling wrapper in this one was similar (naturally) to the XLBs but stretched a bit thinner.  Nice elasticity to the dough which meat the dumplings ate well.  Inside, the tender vegetable filling still had a vibrant texture.  Loved the fluffiness of the filling.

One of my favourite dishes at Dinesty is the Camphor & Tea-Smoked Duck (Chinese Restaurant Award Winner).  This one did not disappoint.  As you can see, this was not a small scrawny duck.  Plenty of smoky tender and moist meat encased in smoky relatively rendered duck skin.  Beyond the breast meat, the skin on the dark meat was crispy.  We deboned the meat and slipped it into the soft mantau buns.

One dish that flew under the radar in terms of appearance was the Crispy Fried Squid.  Instead of the classic Taiwanese chicken nuggets, we got squid nuggets instead.  Good call because these were freakin' good!  The exterior was supremely crunchy (and not greasy) with plenty of seasoning.  The big chunks of squid within were tender with an appealing chewiness.  Very addictive.

To get our one veggie item into our meal, we had the Spicy String Green Beans with Minced Pork.  This dish featured the usual flash fried green beans wok-tossed with chilis, garlic, ginger, pine nuts and minced pork.  I found the beans tender with a slight crunch while the pork to be plentiful (hidden within) and tender.  There was plenty of seasoning as well as a slight kick.

Another dish I probably wouldn't have ordered myself was the Basa Fillet topped with egg whites and soy bean powder.  Turns out it was good and I would probably order it next time.  The ample fillets of fish were delicate and moist.  Loved the egg whites and the soy bean powder as they provided layers of texture.  Completing the dish was some crunchy veggies that added brightness and contrasting texture to the fish.

A classic dish was the Simmer Chicken with basil in triple sauce (aka 3 Cup Chicken).  Loved the flavours in this dish as they were pronounced and impactful.  Generally, this is called 3 cup chicken for its 3 main ingredients - rice wine, soy and sesame oil.  The balance of sweetness with tang and aromatics was perfect.  Furthermore, the pieces of chicken were juicy and tender.  Loved the viscosity of the sauce too as it clung onto each piece of chicken beautifully.

To go with this, we added the XO Sauce & Diced Beef Fried Rice.  Of course white rice would've been more optimal, but why go for boring?  The fried rice was far from boring featuring discernible grains of nutty and chewy rice.  Seasoning was aggressive in a good way where the rice was full of caramelization and umaminess (from the XO).  Beef was not overly tenderized, hence exhibiting a natural meaty texture.  Good caramelization on that too.  To go with the food, we were able to order drinks from Yifang and they were delivered by robot to our table.  A bit novel yes, but convenient and better than drinking just tea.  So once again, Dinesty came through with predictable food at a reasonable price.  It is still a solid choice for this type of cuisine.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Predictable food that is good
- Reasonably-priced
- Nice dining space for this location

The Bad:
- Wish the parking was not only limited to 1.5 hours (should be at least 2)


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