The flavours at New Flavour are not particularly new, yet despite the misnomer, this long-time Dominion Road haunt is definitely worth a visit.
New Flavour has undergone a bit of an upgrade since my last visit (circa 2013). It used to be this dingy, fluorescently-lit hole-in-the-wall type deal, with little ambience of which to speak (yes, I am aware I have just described 90% of Dominion Road). Not much has changed really, except that it has moved into a bigger, slightly less grotty two-storey space next door. Beware the double signage.
People will tell you to go to New Flavour for the dumplings. Don’t. Go to New Flavour for the Deep Fried Squid with Cumin and Chilli ($16.00). It’s spicy and fragrant and tastes like Chinese food actually tastes in China.
Food. Real food. Real good food.
The famed NF dumplings were disappointing. We went for the original Pork Mince and Chinese Cabbage (20 for $11.00), which, circa ’13, were so. damn. good. We waited over 30 minutes, which we were perfectly happy to do if it meant our dumplings were being made to order, but this was not the case. They came out kind of cold and tasted bland. But hey, dumplings - even when they’re bad they’re still pretty good.
(FYI. Perhaps the most important lesson I learnt during my time in China is that your dumpling dipping sauce should be composed of a 1:2 ratio of soy sauce to vinegar, with chilli to taste. You’re welcome).
Aside from the satisfying squid and disappointing dumplings (all hail alliterations), we also ordered a Small Cucumber Salad ($8.00), a Spring Onion Pancake ($4.00) because carbs, and the Stir-fried Bok Choi with Mashed Garlic ($12.00), which was a surprising highlight, sautéed in what tasted like a pound of butter.
New Flavour is packed out most nights of the week, and I can tell you the people are not here for the service. The food is damn good and reasonably cheap. Dinner came to $51.00 for three people including tea. It can be hard to get a seat, so be prepared to wait, or book ahead. Get the squid and it will all be worth it.
New Flavour Restaurant
537 Dominion Rd, Mount Eden