Most people know Dragon-i as being one of Hong Kong’s most iconic and long-standing night clubs, a place where all the models and celebrities go, and where people tend to splash out a ridiculous sum of money for over-sized bottles of expensive alcohol. Others might also know it for its all-you-can-eat dim sum lunch menu. Would you ever think of Dragon-i as a place to go for dinner? Well, now you can, as this restaurant slash night club has just launched a new dinner menu, with incredibly reasonably priced set menus for groups.
If you’ve been to Dragon-i late at night, you’ll know that this place can definitely attract a crowd and has, in fact, been doing so for almost 15 years. Before it turns into a club, however, it actually has a really pleasant, chilled out lounge vibe that’s perfect for a relaxed dinner amongst friends. I don’t think the décor has changed at all in its 15-year lifespan, but, with its sensual ambience, circular leather booth seating and bold red lanterns, it still exudes a timeless elegance that accounts for its unyielding popularity.
Aside from its a la carte menu, there is the choice of a set menu for four diners, or a set menu for six diners, priced at $688 or $1032 respectively. That price is not per head, but the total price of the food, which, including 10% service charge, works out at less than $190 per person!
Both set menus begin with appetisers of chilled cucumber in garlic and spring onion oil and jelly fish with spicy sauce, both of which were simple yet delicious. I don’t eat a lot of jelly fish, but when I do, I thoroughly enjoy it.
Following this, came some chilli pork dumplings, which also happen to be one of my favourite dishes from the restaurant’s lunch menu. The dumpling skin was perfectly thin, giving way to deliciously seasoned pork, all smothered in a rich, Sichuan peppery sauce with a satisfying zing.
The very traditional sun-dried scallop and bamboo pith soup was lovely and comforting for a chilly winter’s evening (or one of the few we’ve had this “winter”!). I did, however, find it a little rich and heavy, so couldn’t manage all of it if I wanted to continue with the rest of the meal.
The sliced spicy beef in Szechuan style that followed was delicious. The spice here was subtle, but the flavour spot on and the beef beautifully tender.
The first low point of the night for me was the poached chicken flavoured with root ginger. The chicken itself was rather dry and the sauce laden with white pepper, which overpowered any other flavours.
The pregnant women’s fried rice, apparently so-called due to the large amount of ginger used, which is supposedly beneficial to pregnant ladies, was excellent. I often find fried rice needs a good dousing of soy sauce to give it some flavour, but this one, despite being vegetarian, was packed full of flavour and needed nothing adding.
Last of the savoury dishes was stir-fried kale with ginger jus. It is quite unusual for a Chinese restaurant to serve this kind of kale, and quite unusual for this kind of kale to be cooked. However, it worked perfectly and was a lovely addition to the meal.
In addition to the set menu, we also tried a couple of dishes from the a la carte menu: stir-fried fresh prawns with scrambled egg and spring onion, and deep-fried prawns with salty egg yolk. Both were good, but I particularly enjoyed the latter and would definitely order it again. I was impressed at how the egg yolk batter remained perfectly crisp and yet not in the least oily, whilst the prawn beneath was succulent and bouncy.
I was somewhat disappointed by the set menu’s desserts. The first was a papaya and snow fungus sweet soup, and the second a seasonal fruit platter. Granted, these may be very traditional Chinese desserts, but I was expecting something a little more impressive from Dragon-i.
The service was attentive, although the restaurant wasn’t particularly busy on the day we visited. I’m still amazed by the incredible value of the set menu. For the quality of food, service and setting, you’d be pushed to find somewhere more affordable – you’d probably even pay more than this at a cha chaan teng! So now you know, Dragon-i isn’t just a club for Hong Kong’s elite, it’s a very good Chinese restaurant that even the average Joe can afford!
UG/F, The Centrium
60 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 3100 1222