I was invited down to Dinesty with a few well-known foodies and food writers. We originally wanted to visit the Burnaby location, but the date that worked for everyone, did not work of the restaurant. But luckily with multiple locations, we were easily able to redirect ourselves to the next closest Dinesty location. In this case, the Richmond location, which turned out to be more ideal because it has complimentary underground parking; and an adjacent bubble tea cafe that you can order from, when dining in, which is not available at their other locations.
The meal before us are dishes recommended by the restaurant, dishes unique to them and their best sellers.
For those familiar with the chain, they are well known for their XLB soup buns. These are not the best or close to my favourite, but do offer a nice introduction to soup buns, for those unfamiliar. I cannot help but to compare them here, so found them smaller, with less filling, with a filling that needs the side dish of vinegar and ginger to pop. Overall average, but great as a beginner’s XLB.
A vegetarian dumpling option they have is a delicately steamed green vegetable and egg dumpling. Stuffed full and hearty with fragrant greens, I was just left longing for some salt and vinegar to help give it some depth.
The Crispy fried squid was breaded thick, a few pieces had more breading that squid. They were a little greasy and a lot bland, so we needed ample sweet chilli to flavour it.
The Camphor and tea Smoked duck is one of their show stopping dishes. The duck is fairly fragrant on its own, briming with a unique herbal smokiness thanks to the tea. But if you are expected to stuff it into the provided clam shell shaped white buns, it needs a sauce and some pickled vegetables to help balance out to two slices of white dough.
Something similar to Peking duck wraps in sauce and greens would work here, sweet hoisin and refreshing spring onion. Although the duck meat is bone-in so you can’t just bite down.
I normally like all Spicy string beans with minced pork dishes, but sadly found this rendition lacking. It wasn’t seasoned enough and the beans themselves were wilted and not crispy and firm.
The Skimmer chicken with basil in triple sauce was one of the dishes I liked the most. Juicy and saucy, ideal with rice to help soak up it unique wine and ginger gravy.
By comparison, the Bass fillet topped with egg white and soy bean powder was lacking in interest and just didn’t jibe with the other plates. The soft fish melts in your mouth, a nice texture to parallel with starchy bean power and tender vegetable. But it gets left behind with the punchier flavour from everything else. We would all later agree that the meal’s progression was off, and felt not considered.
I also liked the seasoning on the XO sauce and diced beef fried rice. Sadly, this dish came later in our dinner, where we were hoping to have it as a base to everything above. The rice lands with its crispy and light texture, fragrant onion, and meat so tender.
And just because it would be delivered by robot server, we all ordered bubble tea from the above-mentioned bubble tea shop next door: Yi Fang. You can order from your Dinesty server or online, and the robot is will bring it completed to you, table side.
It is programmed to travel a specific route and knowns where to stop by your table. After the items are retrieved from its carrying caddy, you hit the “done” button, and off it goes back to its dock.
In closing, Dinesty is not my go-to for Chinese food or bubble tea, but they serve as a great option, and a safe introduction for those who have less exposure to Chinese food, and want a more familiar and friendly experience. Dinesty does just that across all its locations.
Dinesty Dumpling House
5555 Gilbert Rd. #150, Richmond, BC V7C 0B8