Tuesday, 9 September 2014

DRAGON CASTLE

One of my favourite dishes from Asian cuisine is dim sum. I always thought when I moved to London Chinatown will be probably a kind of paradise for me with dim sum at every corner. Unfortunately I was very disappointed. Most of the restaurants in Chinatown don't know what their dim sum are made of... I went to many places and they couldn't tell me what was in their dim sum as they are not homemade (they are probably all frozen from the supermarket next door).
Having an intolerance to some seafood ingredients, I have a very limited choice in those restaurants.
My favourite dim sum in France have always been pork and prawn xiu mai and prawn hakao.

Recently I heard about a Cantonese/Chinese restaurant that does dim sum in Elephant & Castle.
It was kind of a surprise to discover E&C have 'nice' restaurants. I decided to call the restaurant before booking. I spoke with the manager of the restaurant who was very helpful and told me that most of the dim sum won't be a problem with my seafood intolerance. For the first time in London I was very happy as I could order most of the dim sum from the menu. He also confirmed they were all handmade at the restaurant. I booked a table for two on Sunday.

When we arrived the place has a massive door which puts you straight in a Chinese atmosphere, behind the door there was a little pond with fish and then a massive room with some Chinese decoration.
As soon as we arrived the manager came to the table  and advise on which dim sum I could order. Again he was very nice and helpful.
After we placed our order, my friend and I looked around us and were surprised there was such a diverse range of customers : couples, families, even people dining alone . Next to us there was a massive table of people : Chinese people, I thought it was a good sign, it also looked like they ordered the full menu on their tables. Everything looked very good.
My friend and I ordered pork, turnip and peanut dumplings, supreme xo scallop dumplings, honey barbecued pork bun, spinach and prawn dumplings, pork and prawn dumplings, pork fried dumplings and barbecued pork cheung fun.

Pork, turnip and peanut dumplings were not my favourite but there were nice. I didn't really like the crunchiness of the peanut inside. My friend really like these dim sum.
 Pork, turnip and peanut dumplings


Supreme scallops dumplings were probably one of the most expensive dim sum we ordered, and I was a bit disappointed, there were not the best scallops dim sum I had in my life. The scallop was a bit soggy.
 Supreme xo scallop dumplings


Honey barbecue pork bun were very nice, usually I always find them dry in Chinatown. These were perfect, a bit moist and the pork inside was well seasoned.
 Honey barbecued pork bun
Spinach and prawn dumplings were a revelation. I never thought spinach could be good in dumplings. These dumplings were by far my favourite. I know next time I am going to Dragon Castle I will order probably two of them and I'm not sharing! 
 Spinach and prawn dumplings

Classic prawn and pork xiu mai were nice. You could taste there were homemade and not frozen version from supermarket. I really enjoyed them.
 Pork and prawn dumplings


I usually always go for steamed dumplings if I can as I always think they are probably more healthy. We made an exception on that day and ordered fried pork dumplings. No regret! They were good and not too greasy. After the spinach & prawn dumplings and the xiu mai, there were my favourite.
 Pork fried dumplings

My friend and I never tried cheung fun before and we found the picture on the menu intriguing. We ordered one portion of barbecued pork cheung fun. Texture was very interesting. It was a bit complicated to eat as everything slide off the rice sheet but overall it was tasty. I would have maybe prefer a sour sauce than the soy sauce. 
 Barbecued pork cheung fun
Overall I am very happy with my experience at Dragon Castle. Service was perfect from my phone call to the end of the meal. The team was nice and friendly, it was appreciated as in Chinatown most of the time they don't really care about customers and are a bit cold. 
Dim sum were all good which is what matters the most for me, they were all fresh and homemade. 
All dim sum were very cheap, around £3 each. Such a bargain, £25 lunch for two with drinks and service charge.
Since my last visit I recommend this place to many of my friends who are dim sum lover too and  told them to order their spinach & prawn dumplings.
I have already planned my next visit. My only critic will be that they should make their dim sum menu available in the evening. 
9/10.

100 Walworth Rd
London SE17 1JL

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