Bank Holiday Yumcha at Dragon Castle 金龍堡 – London Elephant and Castle

Has it been a while since I went out to yumcha? Yep it has been a while. 
This time I went out with my mum again. And this time we dined locally at Dragon Castle which is by Elephant and Castle… Chinese name is 金龍堡 (canto: gam lung bou; mando: jin long bao) literally meaning “Golden-Dragon-Castle/Fort”. You can see in the picture below that you have to read it from right to left, as it is in traditional Chinese script writing for door signs. Don’t worry I get confused too sometimes… When it first opened I only went there once and bought a crispy noodle dish as a take away. It was good, but very expensive, and I never went back since then! But this time I went there to yumcha, eat dim sum and enjoy my Bank Holiday Monday! 
I can’t believe I haven’t dined here before! I have been telling myself to go to this place for years, and on Bank Holiday Monday I finally went!! Yipee!! I think I would have dined by myself if no one came with me…
The entrances are on either side of this red door and the two stone lions

A stone lion

The dimsum menu outside the restaurant

It is a very grand place, and it hasn’t changed much in appearance since it has opened – both the interior and exterior… although a paint job of a different colour that wouldn’t match the rest of the building would be preferable… A light blue building looks dull for a Chinese restaurant that serves good food (already praising the food! Dear Me!!). 
Don’t like the blue exterior – needs a paint job for the restaurant section
They have a small indoor fountain / pond

So many goldfish!

Apart from the ugly paint work outside, its interior is extremely beautiful! There is a tall ceiling and there are large chandeliers hanging. There’s a large bar area, I bet the owner wanted a big bar to serve many different drinks! I didn’t get to see the large tables at the back as there are dividers blocking that area, but you can see them when you’re on the bus. The dining tables are equally spread out but you can still see what other people are eating… We had a couple of women sitting next to us, and one of them was quite irritating and a bit rude. Not sure why. I think they enjoyed the food but didn’t like the service.

Inside the dining area

Don’t ask me why I always take pictures of the lights! They are so grand!

The windows are so big… cleaning must take forever!!

Ordering dimsum is quite easy, it’s a bit like Ping Pong, but there are no set menus and the food is traditional stuff! Just write down the number inside the brackets of how many of the dish / basket you want. Unfortunately the menu is in Simplified Chinese, no Traditional Chinese and there’s no English on the ordering paper, but there is a menu book with the pictures and English inside, which also includes the main menu (rice, noodles and other dishes)… So if you get stuck refer to the pictures or otherwise learn Chinese or dine with someone who’s Chinese (like me! Invite me!! ¬,¬) or ask the staff… The manager speaks Cantonese, and the waiters / waitresses speak Cantonese and / or Mandarin. I spoke mainly Cantonese and English, and said thank you in Mandarin quite a few times…

The dimsum menu in Simplified Chinese

The dimsum menu in pictures

The dimsum menu in pictures continued

The dimsum menu in pictures… final page!

Our food came! My mother didn’t want to each much, but I ate quite a bit. Heheh… I did all the food ticking (ordering) by the way, I never usually do… 

This picture doesn’t feature the taro croquettes… ate those before the other dishes came…

Ate the taro croquettes first. These are very good. I felt like I’ve never tasted these before! They were smallish, but it felt like it melted in your mouth…

蜂巢荔芋角 (Mando: feng chao li yu jiao; Canto: fung caau lai wu gok) “Honeycomb/Beehive Nest” Taro Croquette – £2.90

This, as usual, is the shrimp rice roll. I love this stuff. I wish they sold the frozen version in China Town and other Asian stores so I can steam these at home. I know they sell them frozen worldwide, but not in the UK… 😦

Simp: 鲜虾肠粉 (Mando: xian xia chang fen); Trad: 鮮蝦腸粉 (Canto: sin haa cheung fan) Fresh Shrimp (or Prawn) Rice Roll (cheung fan) – £4.00

If you don’t mind eating the insides an animal, then you might like this. This is black pepper tripe. Tripe is part of an animal’s stomach. And this is seasoned very well and it’s a little spicy… Not sure which animal it’s from though…

Simp: 黑椒金钱肚 (Mando: hei jiao jin qian du); Trad: 黑椒金錢肚 (Canto: haak jiu gam cin tou) Black Pepper Tripe – I love this!! – £2.90

This is one of my favourite dimsum’s of all time! Shrimp dumplings. This has a thick, translucent wrap. The dumpling is a bit big. And I could eat these everyday if I could or whenever I can. My mum said not to order these, BUT I LOVE THESE!! You can buy these frozen in Asian supermarkets.

Simp: 笋尖鲜虾饺 (Mando: sun jian xian xia jiao); Trad: 筍尖鮮蝦餃 (Canto: seon jim sin haa gaau) Haa Gaau – Shrimp Dumplings – £3.00

Everyone likes Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork buns), but I eat it all the time! So I went for these chicken buns, chicken and mushroom buns to be exact! It’s not sweet and tastes very good. Different to the ones you buy in Asian supermarkets. There are big pieces of fresh chicken inside.

Simp: 香菇鸡包子 (Mando: xiang gu ji bao zi); Trad: 香菇雞包子 (Canto: heung gu gai baau jai) Chicken and Mushroom Buns – £2.90

Inside the bun, very fresh ingredients!

My mum wanted these mini glutinous rice parcels, well she wanted the bigger version, but they don’t sell those. These look in-house made. Definitely not frozen bought. There was a big fresh prawn in there, and usually the frozen ones have a dried shrimp in them.

Simp: 迷你珍珠鸡 (Mando: mi ni zhen zhu zi); Trad: 迷你珍珠雞 (Canto: mai nei zan zyu gai) Mini Glutinous Rice Parcels – £3.90

Inside the parcels

I think all the dimsum is made in the restaurant. All of it tasted very fresh and very different to the ones in China Town. The most expensive item on the menu is a fish congee (rice porridge) costing at £5.50.

The waiters / waitresses are always there looking at you, and they will fill your tea cup even if you didn’t ask for it! A very different dining experience for me. I’m sure in China Town they don’t help you fill your tea cup for you! One was a little impatient with my mum but was quite nice when he got our bill… And, woah. I think they were all eyeing me taking pictures… I can’t help it, I take food pictures all the time!

Total bill came to £24.90 which includes the drinks and a 10% compulsory service charge. Without the drinks and service charge, it would have been £19.60, and that averages out to £3.27 per dish / basket!! Mega cheap!! ^_^ I like this place!! I would definitely come back again!!

Our receipt

So South Londoners, if you don’t think China Town is for you, or you can’t be bothered to travel out to a restaurant that serves dim sum, I would definitely recommend you go to Dragon Castle.

My geeky rating: 4.9 (loses a 0.1 mark for service charge)

Good points:
– Nice, spacious restaurant
– Good service (they try their best)
– Food is nice and cheap, I like it

Bad points:
– Waiters / Waitresses are constantly eyeing you, I feel like I don’t know where to look…
– There’s a 10% service charge!! 😦 No point giving tips if there’s a service charge!! (I hate service charge with a passion… see all my other reviews with service charges!)

Address: 100 Walworth Rd London SE17 1JL
Telephone: 020 7277 3388

Dimsum serving times: Mon-Sat 12pm – 4.45pm; Sun 11.30am – 4.45pm


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