Han Shi Fu
Time Out Says
if you’ve ever waited upwards of an hour for a table at a certain dim sum restaurant in, of all places, Mall of the Emirates, you’ll understand why there’s been so much hype around Han Shi Fu.
Brought over to Dubai by the same company responsible for bringing the Taiwanese cult phenomenon that is Din Tai Fung to these shores, this Chinese-Asian newcomer opened with the promise of a finer dining experience.
And, notably, a licensed one.
Housed deep in the belly of Deira City Centre’s trendy Aloft hotel, Han Shi Fu’s aesthetic is fittingly cool. A mish-mash of traditional Chinese accents and noisily exposed A/C ducts. And – love them (we do, most ardently) or loathe them – a smattering of Lazy Susans.
There’s almost too much happening on the menu to know where to start. There’s definitely too much to try in order to work out what the kitchen does best.
Kicking off with the tasting basket of soup dumplings (pictured above), we’re promised six distinct flavours.
The reality is somewhere between two and three. Aside from the truffle mushroom (black) and kimchi beef (green), each flat, floppy morsel is indiscernable from the next.
We swerve the kitsch appeal of the Hello Kitty bao and plough straight into a burger-like gold-dusted charcoal number, filled with a braised rib-eye patty and served, unexpectedly up until now, with a side of American mustard.
It’s at this point we begin to realise that the whole experience has a distinctly American-Asian feel and flavour.
On one hand, it makes the restaurant that much more accessible, but on the other means a lot of the dishes are lacking in the bold aromatics that
make Chinese food so irresistible.
Chili hill chicken, allegedly wok-seared and spicy, tastes as though it’s been immersed in oil, and enjoyed only a brief, anonymous chat room flirtation with anything resembling a chilli.
Despite the best efforts of the truly attentive staff, who do their best to make up for the sloth-like pace of the kitchen, it’s all just a bit bland.
Aesthetically, Han Shi Fu is slick, and has a smart, separate bar that’s ripe for a chat and snack stop.
And for that, after a big shop in Deira City Centre, we’ll probably be back.
But when it comes to dumplings, we’re quite happy to go back to queuing for our dinner.
WHAT IS IT...
Funky new Chinese-fusion restaurant with a Din Tai Fung connection
For a post-shop beverage and bar bite if you're in the area
By Time Out Dubai staff | 10 Feb 2019