Picture of Dragon Castle, SE17 1JL

Historical version 20 of Dragon Castle, SE17 1JL (view current version)

The Dragon Castle is a Chinese restaurant on Walworth Road near Elephant and Castle Station. The huge traditional studded door sets it apart from the rest of the buildings in the area; entry, however, is actually accomplished via the slightly less imposing glass doors set on either side of it.

The (fairly large) main seating area is mostly filled with small tables, but larger parties can be accommodated on the raised section at the back of the room, and they seem to reconfigure the tables fairly often. There may be other rooms upstairs.

Kake and doop visited for dinner on a Monday night in August 2007. The menu has an impressive range, from the usual Chinese restaurant staples right up to chilli frog's legs and shark's fin soup. Pork dumplings were very well done and tasted extremely fresh. The scallop sashimi starter included an ingenious little leaf of coriander which exactly complemented the taste of the scallop.

The sea-spiced aubergine main course was tasty (somewhat on the greasy side according to doop, but just fine and only to be expected for this dish according to Kake); the home-made-style tofu was very good and served with perfectly stir-fried vegetables. The poached eel, however, was composed of little mouthfuls of erotic bliss: it's really hard to exaggerate just how amazingly good it was.

They also serve dim sum until 5pm; Kake, Bob, and Nick have been here for dim sum a few times, in various combinations. Dishes we've particularly liked include the curried whelks (£1.90; don't order these if you dislike chewy food though), the venison teriyaki (lovely and tender), and the cheung fun with scallops and fresh coriander (£3). The deep-fried frogs legs on the specials menu are worth a try too; lovely crisp, ungreasy batter, and very tender interior. But really, it's all good. Tea to accompany your dim sum is unlimited, and costs £1 per person. We've paid between £8 and £12 per head (including tea) for a decent-sized dim sum lunch on our various visits. Bob's photos of the dim sum / Kake's photos of the dim sum menu

The service is friendly, and very attentive indeed, without getting in one's way.

(Note: there are a number of reviews on the internet which say you'll be given a boring menu first off, and you need to ask for the special Chinese menu. As of August 2007, this information was out of date.)

According to Ian Fenn on Chowhound, there was a change of head chef at the end of May 2008. elvum and friends visited for a Dim Sum lunch in July 2008 and found the food to be still excellent, but lacking some of the aforementioned options: no sign of curried whelks, frogs legs or venison - or at least, we couldn't see them on the menu. Chicken, turnip and peanut dumplings were delightful, however, and the steamed buns with roast pork as close to perfection as elvum has ever come across. £11 per head.

At their last food hygiene inspection in February 2008 they were awarded one star out of five.

See also:

Kake, Nick and party had great trouble getting here; they spent quite a lot of time wandering around lost in the subways underneath Elephant and Castle roundabout. Be prepared. If you're coming on the tube, it's best to leave using the Northern Line exit, orientate yourself using the maps on the bus stops, and then stay above ground near the roads until you need to enter the underpass under the "southern roundabout". Alternatively, a No. 12 bus will take you from central London to a stop opposite.
Last visited by elvum and others for a dim sum lunch on 5 July 2008. Opening hours taken from a business card on an August 2007 visit.
OS X co-ord: 532132 OS Y co-ord: 178607 (Latitude: 51.490977 Longitude: -0.098175)
This is version 20 (as of 2008-09-10 23:35:24). View current version. List all versions.