Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Dragon Palace, Earl's Court

It's not often I'll travel across town to the wilds of West London for a dim sum fix, especially as the ever excellent Dragon Castle in Elephant & Castle is so near me. But the lure of silver needle noodles was too much and I begrudgingly made a booking at Dragon Palace in Earl's Court.


As I was squashed up on the tube in between bellowing Chelsea fans I wondered if I'd made a mistake, but after one bite of the har gao (shrimp dumpling) eased my fears. It was deliciously juicy; coarsely chopped prawns packed into a bulging dumpling wrapper. Scallop and prawn dumplings (above, foreground) contained a good amount of discernible seafood and the large chunks of sweet scallop were just cooked. Village dumplings, filled with cubed fish had a seriously gloopy wrapper and lacked a bit of seasoning. Siu long bao (below), that Taiwanese soup-filled dumpling weren't the most refined but they held their broth and had decent flavour.

Special cheung fun, each filled with prawns, minced beef and roast pork surprised me. I'm not usually a fan of minced beef cheung fun, but this version was filled with the meat they use to make the beef dumplings. Bouncy and punctuated with water chestnuts, the texture was more cake-like than grainy and minced.

Fried items were similarly pleasing. Paper prawns were fresh from the fryer and greaseless with the intense flavour of sesame from the seeds that lined the bottoms of their cigar-like shape.

Squid cakes had an excellent bounce, wrapped in tofu skin before deep frying to give it extra crunch. Flavoured with a hint of coriander, we all burnt our mouths hastily munching in to them.

Pan fried cheung fun were pretty exciting especially as I've never seen it served in a London restaurant before - one side of each rice dough roll was crispy, flavoured with dried shrimp to which you'd bite into soft innards.

Turnip cake was an exemplary version with chunks of Chinese sausage flavouring each slice, and a crisp exterior giving way to soft turnipy innards. We weren't quite finished here though and we flagged down the waitress to order more. She, rather exasperated perhaps by how busy the restaurant was, exclaimed that it would be a big wait for more dishes. Given that the dishes had arrived in a leisurely fashion anyway, we weren't that fussed and we got a serving of Singapore fried silver needle noodles. I've never tried these before, but the noodles are worm-like in appearance and slightly transparent. The mild curry flavour with scrambled egg, chicken and prawns was great and we kept going back for seconds.

Dragon Palace has jumped to the top of my dim sum restaurants in London; I haven't tried a great deal (for example, I haven't tied Pearl Liang's dim sum efforts yet) but their steamed dishes were so good I'd go back for them, let alone the pan fried cheung fun and the noodles. At a bargainous £12 a head for the 3 of us including tea, it certainly won't be long before I make the trek west again.

Dragon Palace

207 Earl's Court Road
London SW5 9AN

Tel: 020 7370 1461

Dragon Palace on Urbanspoon

15 comments:

Peter said...

This has made me ravenous. Pity it's such a trek to Kangaroo Valley.

Amy said...

Lizzie your post has given me a serious craving for dim sum now! I've never tried turnip cake before but I will definitely order it next time I see it.

Mr Noodles said...

I always get nervous when I see someone blog about a place that I've championed! So I'm glad you enjoyed the dim sum at Dragon Palace.

Su-Lin said...

Isn't it fab?! I suppose it's a good place if you're attending something at the convention centre. Did you try any of the weekend dim sum specials?

Helen said...

Very sad I had to miss out when I was so excited about that fried cheung fun :(

SootSoot said...

I'm very fond of Dragon Palace; I live ridiculously near and the staff are very nice, especially the only male waiter, who seems to be friends with a lot of regulars. Their dinner menu is good too, especially the crispy beef. I've got many good memories there!

Liv said...

I love this place! Luckily for me (although not my waist-line) this place is incredibly close to where I live. While I'm pleased to see it being championed I hope it won't now start to get too busy for me to get my regular fix!

Mise En Place said...

Oh wow!!

I live so close and had never heard about this place £12 that's amazing.... We will definitely be checking Dragon Palace out.

Great blog by the way - just read your top ten of 2010 - glad to see Mien Tay on there, that place is amazing!

I blog for Mise En Place - we are currently running a series of interviews with local london chefs, thought you and your readers might be interested?

http://www.miseenplace.co.uk/blog/index.php/interviews/word-of-mouth-tony-moyse-smiths-of-smithfield/

Lizzie said...

Peter - I hope you have sufficient dim sum there!

Amy - do give it a go, though turnip cake can be very variable in quality.

Mr Noodles - I really enjoyed it. Hooray!

Su-Lin - NO??? I didn't see any? Damn! I'll have to go back...

Helen - WE SHALL GO AGAIN

Soot Soot - the male waiter was very nice to us too.

Liv - Hope not, though since you can book that helps.

Mis En Place - Thanks for the link.

Kay @ Chopstix2Steaknives said...

I need to try this place too as I love dim sum. But it is a far track for me too.

Gourmet Chick said...

Sounds like you loved this place as much as we did. I have Mr Noodles to thank for suggesting it in the first place. I have also eaten here for dinner but the lunch time dim sum is the best.

Christine Liu said...

Totally yumtastic. Turnip cake and har gao are some of our faves, too. Glad to see you didn't go home hungry! Thanks for the post + photos, and happy spooning! Cheers, Christine {at} urbanspoon {dot} com

Hengki Budi Prasetyo said...

Dim Sum are some kinds of steamed foods is a cuisine of Chinese. I like eat dim sum. Of course, they are justified to call as a healthy foods, coz cooking by steaming. Well, see later, Lizzie.

Gastro1 said...

Lizzie,I totally agree with your review , I have to avoid walking past as can never resist , even in between meals.

Local Diner said...

The dim sum at Dragon Palace is quite good, but if you in the area the dim sum at Jia on Harrington Road (1 min from South Ken tube) is much better. The portions are great, and very tasty, and it is fairly priced! No affiliation with either restaurant, just live in the areas and have been to both a couple of times.