114 Walworth Rd
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, December 30, 2006
The Victims: Echo, Bill, Wei, Niculie
The Damage: £12 each. Just tea.
The Background: I’m a sucker for what I read online. And Dragon Castle has been everywhere. TimeOut. The Times. Chowhound. Giles Coren has been there at least twice. Fay Maschler. Jay Rayner. Combine this with my mother reminiscing over Christmas about her best meal ever–dim sum in 1998 with moi at a Hong Kong hotel that we can’t remember the name of (somewhere in Tsim Sha Tsui)–and I knew it was time to make the pilgramage to pictueresque Elephant & Castle.
The Arrival: I tried to enter by the big red doors. Apparently, these doors only function in emergencies. They were huge. I felt like an idiot. Wei pointed me to the real glass doors and we were shown to the couch while we awaited the rest of our party.
Niculie was running a little late, so we snagged a table and let Wei commence ordering. I was immediately smitten with the very attractive prices. £1.90 and £2.20 for most of the dumplings and fried dishes. Lovely.
The Food: And so began the parade. There were more dumplings than I could shake a stick at. (Anyone know what that means, btw?) Some were delicate and translucent, some were meaty and sticky, others were salty (in a good way) and spicy and satisfying. My favorite was the one with turnips and peanunts in it. And the lotus leaves (at least I think they were lotus leaves) wrapped around pillows of sticky rice. Oh, and the big container of seafood rice. I demured on the chicken feet…been there, done that many ages ago and found it an incredibly bony experience. All of this was accompanied by pot after pot of tea. Lovely.
The Verdict: I’d go back. Now Wei tells me that he feels that the dim sum at Jade Garden still the best, but not as nicely priced. (If you figure we spent £12 per person and didn’t finish all the food, well, you can hopefully appreciate the prices at Dragon Castle.) So one of these days, I’ll be back, but I’ll probably try Jade Garden first.