New Flavour is hugely popular, and will undoubtedly get even more so; it was named in the 2013 Metro Cheap Eats Top 10, and has consistently garnered raves from various review sites. Such is the buzz that when Dumpling Club decided to start going out for evening meals as well as our monthly lunch outings, New Flavour easily made the top of the list. New Flavour opens late (5:00pm) and stays open really, really late (4:00am on weekends).
When I rang to make a booking, the polite but firm waitress said no bookings, but they’ll make sure we won’t go hungry. We were worried enough to come in before 6pm, but she was correct; streams of people came and left, and no one waited more than 5 minutes for a table, be it a party of two or parties of 8; tables turned over quickly and everyone was happy. Young university crowd appear to dominate the diners; but this place seems to attract all demographics.
The list of dumplings is mind-blowing; there are 27 to choose from which you can get steamed, fried or in a soup ($10 – 12 for 20, extra $1 for fried). We ordered steamed pork and celery dumplings and fried pork, prawn and chives dumplings. They taste fresh, and are simply bursting with flavour. These dumplings are exceptionally good and the depth of flavour of the pork and celery dumplings impressed me.
We ordered a plate of fried squid with chilli ($16), which was crisp on the outside, tender and with enough chilli flakes to keep your mouth tingling. The fried chicken with chilli oil was another superb dish; moreish battered chicken served on a pool of chilli oil sauce ($22). It was more mellow and warming, rather than spicy.
We couldn’t go past the handmade noodles with vegetables ($10).
The last plate of the evening was a dessert of toffee kumara ($8). This came with a warning (the liquid toffee is hot!), and a bowl of water to cool the kumara pieces in. You need to coat the pieces quickly and pull the toffee into delicious toffee threads, as once the toffee solidifies, there is nothing but a chisel and hammer than can separate the toffee from the plate.
The dumplings are deftly wrapped at a makeshift table right by the cashier, and it’s fascinating to see how quickly each one took form. I peeked into the kitchen on the way out; dumplings and pancakes look like the most popular menu items on the night.
New Flavour is a great place to grab a quick bite. The streams of people means you are likely to have hungry people eyeing your table so this is not a place to linger.
New Flavour Restaurant
541 Dominion Road, Balmoral, Auckland
Sun – Wed: 5pm – 3am
Thurs – Sat: 5pm – 4am