Not entirely awwffal..
Fitzrovia is becoming a dining hub, with Dabbous‘s gathering a huge crowd and Lima and Bubbledogs’s being set to open in June and July, respectively. You have, in the mean time, a new Chinese “Dragon” on the lesser frequented part of Fitzrovia. Cleveland Street, to be specific. This was a casual Chinese staple, with one of its bare white walls dedicated to a framed review of one famed Maschler. I am certain a Time Out review will find its way up there very soon, too..
The menu was vast and reminiscent of Chilli Cool and Gourmet San. Its good few pages were dominated by fiery Sichaunese and offal dishes. There was also a “Grill” section, featuring chilli chicken wings and “razor claims”, available from 6pm. The price range was kind, and the portion quite generous. While I failed to note the actual price per dish, my meal below (feeding three) with two steamed rice and two beer came to around £75. I enjoyed Aubergine with Chilli in Brown Sauce very much. The flour-ed and deep fried aubergine chunks were quickly sauteed in a rich brown gravy, perfumed with spring onions and green chilli. Piping hot and oozing wonderfully fresh heat. Potato Silk was this cold “salad” dish of finely shredded potatoes tossed in garlic, vinegar and chilli oil. Crunchy and refreshing. Deep Fried Oysters with Salt and Pepper was a properly dirty stuff. The batter boast a very crispy skin. It was still greasy, though not sickeningly so. Pork in Brown Sauce arrived an insanely hock-tastic knuckle to be shredded at the table. Stewed to supreme unctousness, the meat fell apart at a gentle munching. I also went mental after the gelatinous skin which had absorbed the umami richness from the soy sauce and the spices. Duck Blood with Chilli was an ill described dish as it featured, in fact, a medley of offal in a typical spicy and oily Sichaunese stew. While the concoction of pink peppercorns and dried chilli worked nicely to mediate the appetising musty-ness of jellified blood and perfectly chewy tripe, I was begrudged by the not-so-expertly-rinsed pork intestines, for a bite into those made my breath smell like a constipated fart. I grew up with offal, have no qualm eating penises, and will never mind venturing back to Oriental Dragon for lamb’s tripe and chicken gizzards, but the intestines would be my definite no. The kitchen was also a little too curried away with my Singapore Noodle. The service was erratic and one of our orders never made it to the table.
Generally, there is much to like about Oriental Dragon – the hefty portion size, the not-so-MSGed taste, and the value for money. There is also a lot of love if you are turned on by heat, offal and.. oh well… coprophilia!
100 Cleveland Street
Tel. 020 7387 7878