Address: 382 Bank St, Ottawa
Hours: 11:30 – 9pm daily (may vary during/after pandemic)
Centrepointe’s own Dumpling? Dumpling! opened their second location in late September on the Centretown section of Bank Street. I’m hoping that any future locations will keep the Centre__ trend going! While out running some errands, I popped in to give them a try.
For being dumpling-focused, there are a lot of options on the menu. For the namesake dish, you can choose from four different proteins (pork, beef, chicken, and shrimp) plus vegetarian, with a few different flavour options for each. All are $13.99 for 15 pieces. On top of that, you can have your dumplings steamed, boiled, pan fried, or deep fried. With ten options for sides, and a few soups, you can mix and match to your heart’s content without repetition for many visits!
On my first time there, since I didn’t have my wife with me, who’s allergic to shellfish, I opted for the pork and shrimp dumplings. I got them steamed to serve as a baseline.
The restaurant is currently takeout-only during the pandemic, but while waiting for my food, I was able to take in the new space. It’s quite clean and crisp, with varying shades of lightly stained woods, and the show piece dumpling prep area that sits in the middle of the restaurant. Very cool, and it will make for fun viewing in the future!
After a moderate wait (their dumplings seem to be made and cooked to order), I had my food and hit the road to find a place to eat. I appreciated that the dumplings came in a reusable/recyclable container and not styrofoam. My horde of round, black takeout containers continues to grow during the pandemic! They also came with cups of typical dipping sauce, hot sauce, a fortune cookie, and….a sweet and sour sauce packet. I don’t know who has been requesting this out in Centrepoint, but it’s not OK, and Dumpling? Dumpling! shouldn’t pander to this culinary madness. Damned suburbanites!
So these dumplings. They are very, very good. While not proper xiao long bao, aka soup dumplings, these little bundles of joy are JUICY. I’m talking burst-of-juice-goes-flying-when-you-bite-into-one juicy. Along with being so moist and tender, the filling of bits of shrimp mixed among the ground pork, made for an evenly balanced flavour between the two.
When your dumplings are this juicy, thick rice wrappers are called for, and I appreciated their pleasant chew.
On a second visit later in the fall, I met my wife for a lunch date to warm up over some of Dumpling? Dumpling!’s flagship food.
This time around, we ordered their pork and chive (steamed), and chicken and shiitake mushroom dumplings (pan fried, $1 more).
The classic pork and chive dumplings had a great flavour, with the same tender, juicy filling that I experienced before. Seriously, you almost need a bib for these!
Our pan-fried chicken and shiitake dumplings had fantastic sears on one side, and although they would have been crisper as eat-in instead of steaming under their own heat in the takeout container, there was still some crispness for textural contrast. The meat itself was quite mild, but I enjoyed the earthy funk of the shiitake.
Thankfully, there were no sweet and sour packets this time for me to throw out.
What can I say? I love the dumplings, I love their punctuation-filled name, and their branding is fun and creative too. You gotta check out Dumpling? Dumpling!, no question about it.