Barilla Dumpling

Of all the many Asian restaurants on Dominion Road, which one do you choose?  This one! Alexia had interviewed Al Brown the week before and he had raved about it so we had to see for ourselves.

Barilla is one of the hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurants on Dominion Road. There is nothing to say about the restaurant décor because it does not exist. There is plastic covering the tablecloths and bright fluorescent lighting. But, as you know, it’s all about the food.

Barilla was doing a brisk trade with young Asian patrons on a recent Monday night. And what an interesting menu!  Forget the usual suspects of stir-fried beef with black bean or sweet and sour sauce, how do Pork Dumplings with Maori cucumber sound ($9)?  Or Sauteed Shredded Pork with Potherb Mustard ($10)?  Or Sauteed Chinese Flowering Cabbage with Chopped Garlic ($10)?

Although there were just two of us, we ordered four dishes in the interests of research!  I love the combination of pork and fennel, so we ordered that filling for our dumplings ($10) as well as Fried French Beans with Spicy Salt ($12), Sizzling Beef Steak with Black Pepper ($14) and a Chives Pancake ($3).

Where do I start with the descriptions? First the dumplings: a plate brimming with 20 of them. The dough was light and the filling moist and full of fennel – the real thing, not seeds. Later we watched two women make the dough and the dumplings. Nothing from a factory here. The dumplings are usually boiled, but you can have them steamed or fried for an extra $1 charge.

The surprise dish for me was the Green Beans. They were coated in a light tempura-like batter and deep-fried. However, the batter was slightly sweet and the coating including a liberal sprinkling of cumin seeds. A real unexpected bonus as I adore the flavour of cumin. The Sizzling Steak arrived on a hot metal platter and was a simple dish of thin slices of steak, onions, carrot and celery in a delicious sauce. The Chive Pancake was a light, crispy pancake with chopped chives in the dough and was similar to an Indian flatbread.

Despite eating a lot, we barely made a dent in the food and took home enough left-overs for at least two more meals. My daughter and I both loved Barilla and would happily return another day. We found out the food originates from the north-eastern area of China, hence the difference from the more commonly experienced Cantonese or Szechuan food.

There are lots of options on the menu to stretch the Kiwi foodie boundaries, and not all of them intimidating. It is worth knowing that the dumplings are also available to take home uncooked. Don’t be overwhelmed by Dominion Road. Just go straight here.


Location:  571 Dominion Road, Mt Eden/Balmoral
Phone: (09) 638-8032
Hours: Open 7 days 11:30am-midnight
Licensed: No
Credit Cards: No, EFTPOS and cash only
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes
Takeaways: Yes
Prices: Soup $6-$10; Fried Rice $6-$10; Fried Noodles $7-$10; Soup and Noodles $7-$10; Meal on Rice $8; Dumplings $8-$12 for 20; Pork, Beef, Lamb, Chicken dishes $10-$14; Seafood $12-$26; Vegetable dishes $10-$14; Pancakes $3-$5; Cold dishes $3.50-$15; Casseroles $12-$18.
Bathrooms: Passable but you walk through the kitchen
Wheelchair Accessible:Yes (not the toilet)
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21 Responses

  1. Andrea says:

    The pork & chives dumplings are so good! I went here after reading about it on your site and have been wanting more ever since.

  2. Lynn says:

    So glad that you liked them! Did you watch the women make the dumplings by hand?


  3. Andrea says:

    No I didn’t, but we went to New Flavour tonight and saw a woman making them there. New Flavour was very busy, the food was good, but I preferred the dumplings at Barilla Dumpling.

  4. Donna says:

    SOOOOOOO good!! we went there for a midnight feast last Friday night with a big group of 11!! half had never been there before but we were instantly won over, everyone ordered something different so we got to try a wide selection of yummy dishes. It was probably about 2am when we left and we felt full but not heavily so. We will DEFINATELY be back there again! 🙂

  5. Lynn says:

    What fun! Glad that everyone enjoyed the food.

    Thanks for your feedback,

  6. Holly says:

    Went here after reading this, you must try the pickled peanuts, amazing!

  7. Brooke says:

    OMG I love Barilla. Go there every monday, always try to choose at least one dish.

    Food is always good, and crazy cheap. The fried Squid is my fave, as well as the tofu in oyster sauce.

    Service is average but that’s not what you pay for.

    Also make sure to use the bathroom, that’s an experience.

    • Lynn says:

      Hi Brooke,
      Lucky you for eating at Barilla every Monday. Let us know if you find any more favourites.


  8. Sarah says:

    I love the food at Barilla but I always find the service disappointing 🙁

    • Lynn says:

      I think they just focus on pumping out the great food…just one of those things…

      We had a better service experience recently at Beijing Duck. Watch for the review soon.


  9. Renee says:

    I went here last night with my partner after reading your review. We loved the food, the waiting time was minimal and we were left wanting to try so many more things on the menu. Next time I go I will get the frozen dumplings to take home, I love it!

    • Lynn says:

      Hi Renee,
      Great to hear that Barilla got a big thumbs up! If you love dumplings then give Eden Noodle a go – you may have to get them as takeaways because the restaurant is so small, but they are well worth trying.


  10. Brittany says:

    Barilla was recommended to me by my cousin, so my friend and I went last week and had the pork and cashew (I think that’s what flavour they were) dumplings, and they were amazing, and soooo cheap! I’m taking my partner there this afternoon for a late lunch, and I’d say we will be bringing home some frozen dumplings!

  11. sharon says:

    Visiting Auckland my daughter took me to Barillas for a meal and it was like nothing I can get in Christchurch, dumplings, pork pancake and potato salad, if anyone can point me in the direction of the potato salad I would be eternally gratful. A definate on my visiting list next time in Auckland

  12. Tina says:

    Was planning on going here after seeing your review but it has a D food grade rating!


    • Admin says:

      Hmmm, must have changed recently as we only review B grades or higher. Thanks for the tip. However in regard to the ratings we have a very good local Thai which received a D rating when their air con unit leaked. It was fixed immediately and didn’t effect food quality at all, however they were stuck with the rating for over 4 months!

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