Recently featured in New Zealand Herald for their D grade in hygiene, Barilla was still packed with people when we went a few weeks after the article was published. But like most Asian eateries on Dominion Road, the poor hygiene has never really kept patrons away. After being recommended this dumpling house by my friends and colleague, a group of us headed out and put our tummies to the test.
Barilla Dumpling is an award-winning restaurant that has featured in Metro and Viva and has earned praise by many people, including celebrity chef, Al Brown. Dumplings being their major seller, Barilla has a considerable variety made with different ingredients and they can be prepared in three different ways (boil, steam or pan-fried). We tried a variety of fillings, all prepared differently so we could compare the separate techniques.
These two (pictured below) are my favourite – the steamed pork and chives and the pan-fried pork and prawns. My preference is to have the dumplings pan-fried as it gives the dumplings a crispy exterior as well as intensify the flavours of the dough. The steamed version is good for people wanting to have a healthier option and I personally did not enjoy the boiled dumplings (not pictured), the wrapping was close to falling apart and some of the water have seeped into the filling.
We also ordered a serving of deep fried mantou, served alongside a small dish of sweeten condensed milk. Mantau is a type of bread that originated from China and was a staple food source for Northern China where wheat was commonly grown. They are usually served steamed but you can have them deep fried so that it is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. These ones in Barilla could have been fried for slightly longer as they lack the distintive crunch, but they were polished off regardless.
By the time I tried Barilla, they had already earned themselves an A grade in hygiene, which they proudly display on their front window. Food wise, Barilla Dumplings offers delicious and affordable food that is truly worth trying. However, do not expect friendly and efficient service and be prepared to wait for a table as its popularity status continues to grow.
Date: Saturday 21 September, 2013 | Location: 571 Dominion Road, Balmoral | Food: Chinese