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Restaurants & Bars 1

Oriental Dragon, Chinatown, London

limster | Aug 31, 2013 11:25 AM

A newish place on Gerrard Street with Shanghainese, Sichuan, Dongbei and Cantonese sections on the menu. Apparently they have 5 chefs, which isn't unusual for Chinese places.

Focused on the Shanghainese stuff. Shen jian bao/pan fried bun filled with minced pork wasn't bad, but slightly marred by a bit too much charring on the bottom, shaded towards black rather than golden brown. Filling was fairly juicy and pleasantly seasoned, the bun itself was fine if very slightly mealy in texture. Also expensive for the quality: £6-7 (iirc) for 5 buns.

Vegetarian goose, a staple among Shanghainese cold starters made from bean curd sheets, was pretty good, but could a touch more tender in texture. Nuanced black vinegar and rice wine in the sauce.

Stir fried eel in a dark vinegar and soy based sauce was excellent - good texture on the eel, with a generous amount of finely cut scallions and minced garlic in the centre of the dish. I suspect that they poured some hot oil over it, as is typical, to lightly poach it. Mixed together with the eel, they provided some levity and pungency to contrast the eel. But somewhat pricey at ~£18-19.

I suppose the food wasn't bad, but it seemed pricey for the overall quality, compared to other restaurants of similar calibre or higher. Had a more enjoyable Shanghainese meal at Bright Courtyard in Marylebone a while ago (highlights - delicately textured Lion's Head meatballs, homey and soft taro balls perked up with scallions, dragon well prawns that were nicely snappy and ripped easily and satisfyingly on the teeth).

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