Monday, 10 October 2016

Dragon Group: Amazing tea, sub-par dim sum

Family was in Richmond visiting the temple, so we thought to have lunch in the area before leaving! Saw this new place have their "Grand Opening" sign up, so we decided to give it a try, it used to be the location of South Ocean.

Dragon Group Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoRestaurant: Dragon Group Seafood Restaurant
Location: 150-4751 Garden City Road, Richmond
Cuisine: Chinese, Seafood, Dim Sum
Price range: $15-$25/person

Date of visit: October 10, 2016
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 4.5/5
Food variety: 5/5
Food quality: 2/5
Buck worthy? 1/5

There wasn't a long wait in line for tables although it looked crowded, we were seated after about 15 minutes of waiting. The inside is quite nicely furnished now, but still the same small space. There is a $1/person charge, and the tea quality justifies this surcharge, it was very nice tea-- fragrant and light.

I was looking through the menu while we waited, so we could place the order right as we sat down (hungry peeps). First to arrive was the Halibut with Scallions and Ginger in Premium Soy Sauce ($8.25). The halibut was cooked perfectly, juicy and flakey inside with a crispy exterior that was evenly coated with the soy sauce. Not overly seasoned, I quite enjoyed the piping hot fish. Wish there were more pieces considering the price we paid.

My mom really loves Rice Roll Wrapped with Donut ($5.25), but this was an utter disappointment. The rice roll itself was mediocre, chewy but not quite "smooth". The Chinese donut was hard as a rock and over-fried. Normally it should be crispy on the outside with a bread-like interior. At least they put the soy sauce on the side.

When I first went for dim sum in Hong Kong, one thing I really enjoyed were their "combo" dishes-- basically dishes with more than one item in it, so you could have dim sum alone AND still have variety. I saw the Beef Ball, Spare rib, Chicken Feet combo ($4.75) and was sold immediately. Sadly, this wasn't quite up to standard. The chicken foot was nice, and the beef ball was a good size and average texture/taste. The spareribs were actually seasoned nicely but more than half of it was tiny bits of meat with chunks of fat. There was ONE piece with bone in it (I like the ones with bone). So basically this was one super oily dish.

Annnnd for my Elephant, Deep Fried Sesame Ball with Seasame paste ($4.75). This wasn't freshly made to order, but was still relatively warm. Crispy outside but the dough inside wasn't chewy enough. The sesame paste was too gritty and sweet that it didn't flow nicely.

Being a lover of anything Tom Yum, I ordered Beef Omasum in Tom Yum Sauce ($5.50). It was like any other omasum dish, but I like their concept of putting in Tom Yum. I'd say it's a rather personal taste, since I enjoyed this dish, but my mom said it was weird.

Didn't settle for regular shrimp dumplings, so we got Meat Rissoles with Crab ($5.75). Fancy sounding enough (it has this even fancier sounding name in Chinese). Probably the most disappointing dish of the whole meal, possibly my whole dim sum eating life. The wrapping was soft and soggy, fell apart when touched, not chewy at all. The filling did indeed contain real crab, but it also did not hold and so... the dish just all fell apart before it reached any bowl. Similar to any good sushi, your dumpling is not meant to break apart before it reaches your bowl, the wrapping should be strong enough to hold it, yet still be soft, smooth, and chewy.

Another combo dish, Steamed Tri-Buns ($4.75) should contain a custard bun, a BBQ pork bun, and a chicken bun. I say "should" because I got double of the BBQ pork bun *sadface* I asked a waiter to confirm I wasn't being stupid and not able to differentiate the two remaining buns (custard is round and easily distinguishable from the other two). These were good, the custard bun had flowy filling, as advertised and tasted pretty legit. The buns themselves were good texture and taste. I just wish I had a taste of that chicken bun now.

Something with a fusion twist to it, since I don't think truffle is commonly in Chinese dishes, the Pork Shiu-Mai with Truffle ($5.50) arrived. These looked normal, with some truffle sauce on top. I did not like the taste of the truffle, it was slimey and tasted like concentrated Chinese mushrooms. The shiu mai itself was made with ground pork and had good bite to it. Average size.

Lamb isn't commonly in dim sum, and I'm a sucker for lamb so...Pan Fried Lamb Pastry with Leeks ($6.25) was ordered. These buns were not worthy of the price we paid. Pan fried to a golden exterior with the bun being soft and moist, and the filling being all lamb, I liked the flavors. However, there were only three small buns. THREE.

Still hungry, we ordered a Wonton Noodle Soup ($7.80/bowl) expecting the usual wontons, but were surprised when they showed up more like pork and chive dumplings with no shrimp. The meat wasn't very fresh inside the dumplings, the wrapping was chewy and smooth though. Noodles weren't anything special, but I like the added touch of greens.

I saw the Pan Fried Tofu with Shrimp Paste ($5.25) come out of the kitchen a few times and they were huge! Must order. The tofu was a big chunk with shrimp paste on top. Nicely fried, it was crispy and I like how they placed the sauce on the side. Shrimp paste met the average standards.

Normally we don't eat a lot, but boy was I surprised when I saw our bill was $124.74!! Then I looked to see that they had charged us 55 people's worth of tea-- no wonder! Luckily I caught it, and they changed it.

But still, paying more than $10/person for dim sum is a rarity for my family, so this was a surprise, but hey, being adventurous means you have to suffer the consequences too! =P Overall, good service, high quality tea, hit or mostly miss dim sum.

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