Restaurant review: Dragon Noodles Academy in Central – fun, good quality Chinese with room for improvement

Dim sum, a good selection of meals to share and a touch of US Chinatowns make the newly opened Dragon Noodles Academy worth a visit, despite some teething problems

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2016, 12:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 December, 2016, 12:03pm

Dragon Noodles Academy is a fun restaurant with creative dishes and quirky decor. It’s by the same folks who opened the Yum Cha restaurants, known for their whimsical, colourful dim sum.

At the entrance, customers are greeted by a long, gold dragon reminiscent of dining establishments in North American Chinatowns. There’s also a pair of kung fu wooden dummies for people to practise their martial arts moves. Further inside, papier mâché lion heads are on the walls and there’s an open kitchen where diners can watch their noodles being made.

As soon as we walked in we were recognised, so the service was extra attentive. For a restaurant that was open for just a few days, the quality of the food was pretty good, with a few rough edges to be ironed out.

Dim sum is available at lunch. At dinner there’s lots to share, including a whole Peking duck, fried rice and whole fish cooked in various ways.

The sous vide chix rolls (HK$59 each) resembled sushi rolls made with boneless chicken. There were two types, and we preferred the spicy ones with a touch of Sichuan peppercorn numbness over the ginger ones, which didn’t have much flavour.

We liked the presentation of the berry winter melon (HK$69) that was arranged to look like purple grapes with vine leaves, but the taste was bland.

The lobster tail soup noodles (HK$149) were delicious. The dish was composed of freshly made, thin noodles in a flavourful lobster bisque broth, with chunks of lobster meat in the shell. We were also impressed with the 12-hour sous vide US bone-in short ribs (HK$439). Served with the rib bone, the slices of beef were wonderfully tender. The dish was reminiscent of Ho Lee Fook’s signature ribs, but this version isn’t spicy.

Our last dish came late – the staff were worried the dried shrimp and napa cabbage dish (HK$99) would get cold. The vegetables, made to look like flowers with dried baby shrimp, were served in delicious chicken broth, but more Chinese ham was needed to add flavour to the dish.

For dessert, the flowering tofu (HK$79) looked pretty in the picture, the tofu sliced so fine it looked like petals of a chrysanthemum flower. But it tasted flat, served in a watered-down syrup garnished with wolfberries and edible flowers.

Dragon Noodles Academy, shop G04, Man Yee Arcade, Man Yee Building, 68 Des Voeux Road Central, tel: 2561 6688