Published on November 12, 2012 | by Jennifer Logan

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Chinese dining in the Elephant

Authentic chinese dining in Elephant and Castle [Betoul Mahdey]

Many of us don’t really like to spread our wings in Elephant & Castle.

It is bad enough having to walk through the hectic market and squalid underpasses, thinking we are going to get mugged at any opportunity, let alone going there for dinner.

But if you head away from the frantic roundabout and walk to Walworth Road, only a couple of minutes away, just under the bridge, you will unexpectedly find a large Chinese restaurant on the right hand side, called Dragon Castle.

Sitting underneath the bright blue student residence halls, Julian Markham house, it is hard to miss.

Not really the place you would expect to find a banquet style restaurant with two large stone lions guarding the red carpeted entrance, immediately screaming expensive but also intriguing.

Extensive menu

The fancy style doesn’t end when you enter the restaurant, you can straight away notice the koi carp pond that sits in the foyer which is a lovely touch for a waiting area.

When you are taken to your table, you can see the restaurant boasts individual design with traditional lanterns in the tall windows and big exquisite vases positioned around the restaurant.

Many tables fill the restaurant, although a little too close together so you might feel slightly on top of people. This is unfortunate as it can become a bit difficult to have a conversation comfortably and privately.

The menu has an extensive selection of Cantonese favourites, including sweet and sour chicken, egg fried rice, prawns with garlic and ginger and crispy shredded beef with sweet chilli sauce.

At around £10 for a main dish though, it is rather pricey and depending on your budget this can make it impossible to order a variety of dishes to enjoy.

Good service

The House Special Mixed Platter is a must try with a delicious mixture of seaweed, sesame prawn on toast, chicken spring rolls, spare ribs and satay chicken on skewers spread out on a wood platter.

As well as the popular Cantonese favourites, the restaurant also offers authentic specialties, including sliced abalone with Chinese vegetables.

The service is good, although the waiters can feel a little over bearing and tend to walk past a lot or stand very near to your table, which gives the feeling of being rushed.

This and the fairly high prices were the downfall. But what makes Dragon Castle special is they do offer an excellent value dim-sum menu for lunchtime, served in small steamer baskets and averaging at only £2.70 a plate.

This would make it a fun and cheap bite to eat out with friends, without having to travel down to hectic Chinatown.

Dragon Castle can be found at 100 Walworth Road, Elephant & Castle, SE17 1JL

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