2 November 2013
Coupon date-nights are my new favourite thing! This time, we headed to Dragon Palace in the CBD for a fancy dinner. We scored a heavily discounted voucher online, but I’ve listed the regular prices so that you can see how much other diners were paying for the same food *evil laugh*.
Photo available from dragonpalacecity.com.au
I totally forgot to take photos of the restaurant, but it’s fancy enough that you get cloth napkins, yet casual enough that I felt comfortable in jeans. We chose three courses and a drink. The house white (usually $7.50) was very drinkable, unlike the last freebie wine from my coupon meal at Eat Greek.
Dragon signature mixed entrée ($17.50)
The signature (read: most expensive) entrée took up lots of space on the table, but was it worthwhile? The 3 small lumps of scotch fillet were cooked right through and a little tough. Accompanying the steak bits was an unexciting combo of black pepper sauce and leafy greens.
The 2 seared scallops were quite tender, verging on overcooked, and sitting in a watery salty brown liquid. Thankfully, the 3 seared prawns were plump and juicy. Usually I love wasabi mayo but this dipping sauce was grainy and there wasn’t enough heat. I’ve fallen victim again to the powdered version of wasabi, just like the type served in foodcourts.
Deep fried tiger prawns with fresh mango pieces ($13.50)
We inadvertently ordered spring rolls as our other entrée. My dining companion had imagined big juicy prawns with fresh mango slices. Instead, we rather reluctantly chomped through oily pastry to find a small prawn (spit out the tail) and an unrecognisable slimy mush. It turns out the mush inside was mango. Gross. It was also curious that the menu claims this was “fresh mango” but the waitress advised us that the dessert mango rolls were seasonal and unavailable that same night.
Sizzling wagyu beef ($78)
A hotplate came out with a thick 220g wagyu steak. Wagyu is fancy beef and I’ve only had it one other time at Fuku restaurant. The waiter poured a generous amount of XO spicy sauce with onions over the hotplate so it sizzled loudly. We weren’t asked how we wanted our steak cooked and it arrived medium (rather than my preferred medium-rare). We enjoyed the tender steak and salty sauce, but the chilli was very mild.
The carrots, green beans, button mushrooms, and onion gave us something else to munch on. Probably should have been served with steamed rice, but maybe that’s too Chinese for this modern “fusion” restaurant. This meal has a small novelty factor, but there is no way that I would ever pay the regular price. It’s just not that amazing.
Peking duck carver
I enjoyed seeing the trolley with the waitress carving our peking duck, like I witnessed on my recent trip to Beijing. The peking duck comes with 2 courses (half duck for $39, whole duck $78).
Crispy skin duck pancake
I was a bit devo that the waitress assembled our duck pancakes. My duck pancakes usually fall apart while I’m eating them, but that’s part of the fun! The crispy oily duck skin, spring onions, pickly cabbage, and spicy hoi sin sauce tasted delish. I’m happy to report that the duck is well-cooked and not too salty, while the roasted skin still has a wonderful crack.
Duck san choy bow
The meat of our Peking duck (half) was used to make san choy bow. Fresh lettuce leaves cup a mixture of duck meat, Chinese mushroom bits, celery, onion, carrot, and crunchy fried noodles. We were getting very full by this stage but struggled onwards. Tasty enough, but not as yummy as the duck pancakes.
Deep fried ice cream ($8)
For dessert, we ordered the fried ice cream topped with chocolate and strawberry syrups. The fried ice creams lacked integrity and were falling apart before they arrived at our table *tut tut*. I reckon that I make this dessert better, but at least Dragon Palace does it better than the doughy crappy ones at Shun Fung.
Deep fried strawberry roll ($8.50)
Honestly, the restaurant should invest in some better syrups and sauces. Both desserts used sugary boring syrups. I also wondered whether this “mango” syrup was made from the same “fresh mango” as the spring rolls earlier. This dessert was okay - fresh strawberry cooked inside spring roll pastry, served with vanilla ice cream, cream, and a not-so-pretty strawberry.
Service was friendly and prompt, plus we didn’t wait long between courses. Our meal would normally have cost about $90 per person, which is horrendously expensive in my books. The food is generally mediocre and there are heaps of Chinese restaurants that would do a better job for half the price. I might return to Dragon Palace for dim sum lunch, but not for dinner.
Likes: yummy Peking duck pancakes, good service
Dislikes: prawn spring rolls, cheap sugary syrups on desserts
Value for money: expensive and overpriced
Overall: the quality of the food simply does not justify super high prices
The Woodside Plaza
Shop 7, 240 St Georges Terrace
(08) 6162 1278