The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When Love Turns To Apathy …

You might just be getting over the shock of yesterdays post, where I showed the world I was wearing shoes.

Real shoes.

Proper, proper shoes.

Well hold on to your hats because it’s going to get worse.

As many of you know, I have had a long, long, long, long, long time love affair with Taiwanese restaurant, Din Tai Fung.

I have been there so many times.

Literally hundreds.

The food is amazing.

The service is amazing.

The whole thing is amazing.

It’s the first restaurant I took my son to.

It’s the first restaurant we went to when we moved to LA.

It’s the first restaurant I looked forward to going to when we moved to the UK.

Now, to be honest, the food wasn’t quite the same in LA compared to China/Asia.

Don’t get me wrong, it was nice … but some of the ‘classics’ had been adapted to American tastes.

A bit sweeter.

A little less spicy.

But I could deal with it because apart from the free soda refills, it’s Din Tai Fung and that’s all that matters.


You see when we moved to London, the restaurant had not yet opened.

In the 3 months between moving here and the doors opening, I had told everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – how this was going to change their life.

Well, we went … and I was right, it did change my life.


I know … this is possibly even more shocking than the Birkenstock situation.

You see, while they had food that was on all their menus around the World, it was a poor imitation of it.

Worse, the sizes were smaller … it was less well cooked … it was served by people who were severely lacking in the kind, seamless service I had come to expect and a shedload more expensive.

As you can see from the receipt, a meal for my wife, 4 year old son and me was over £100.


No booze … no excessive amounts of ordering … and yet it cost about twice as much as my biggest ever order in China and trust me, that was a huuuuuuuuge order.

Now I get London is more expensive than China.

I get people in London may not have a frame of reference for what Din Tai Fung should be.

But it utterly destroyed me.

I went in their with such high hopes and came out disappointed and dismayed.

OK, so they have just opened and may still be having teething problems … but sadly, I doubt that is the real reason. As in the fashion with many companies trying to duplicate the success of one thing, they tend to focus on the ‘big things’ to copy and completely miss – or ignore – the small.

The details that make the big things sing.

While I’ll give them one more chance, the reality is I fully expect I won’t be back until I am back in Asia and while that might not sound a big thing, the fact they have lost such a massively loyal customer should be of concern to them.

Sadly I doubt they’d even care.

17 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I don’t even know who you are anymore.

Comment by Pete

Maybe this new version will be easier to like. Wouldn’t be too hard and shoes already has upped his odds.

Comment by Bazza

Like more or hate less?

Comment by DH

I feel so ….. errrm, abused?

Comment by Rob

Now you know how I feel.

Comment by DH

Is Din Tai Fung London run by them or have they licenced their name to another company? From what you’ve described it sounds like the latter which means the part of the business they didn’t buy was the part that drove repeat business. Not the name, not the environment and not even the food but the service experience.

I hope they read this post and get their act together for your next and possibly final visit.

Comment by Pete

Service experience is almost always covered in licensing deals. I would guess the operators have decided to benchmark against London service standards, which means even at their best they will be bad.

Comment by Bazza

I think they rebrand it as ‘distinctive’ service.

Comment by DH

I have to say that nothing showed the general lack of British service like moving back after living in the US. Don’t get me wrong, the service there is directly linked to trying to get a bigger than 20% tip, but at least they show interest in your experience even if it can go over the top way too many times.

There was a fascinating study on this years ago where they said French waiters view their job as helping their customer have the best experience which is why they place huge value on knowing about food and wine whereas British waiters are rude as they don’t like feeling subservient. I’ll try and find it as I’m sure I’ve just done that a massive disservice.

Comment by Rob

sounds fucking riveting campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Are these posts like that time Coke launched new Coke to make everyone realise they preferred and wanted old Coke?

Comment by DH

As conspiracy theories go, that is a good one.

(I’m talking about New Coke and your claim that 2 posts that challenge things I love – over an 11+ year period – represents a totally different version of myself)

Comment by Rob

I’m now looking forward to the post when you realise you don’t like Queen anymore. Nothing seems to be off the table these days with you, this is more worrying than Brexit

Comment by Northern

theres some taste depths even common fucking sense cant reach.

Comment by andy@cynic

You don’t do small orders.

Comment by John

especially when the fucker is expensing it. which is always.

Comment by andy@cynic

12.5% tip. i dream of that shit. you cant leave a fucking toilet here without 20%.

Comment by andy@cynic

Leave a Reply