It’s always been a mission to find good quality Chinese food around Central which offers comfortable seating (to entertain visitors, for example), yet is not extortionately priced, excessively formal or terribly outdated. Dragon Noodles Academy seems to fulfil this particular demand quite perfectly.
That said, I actually just came here on a random week night after the gym… so it can be pretty casual too.
The Newest Hip Chinese place-to-be
The decor of this place makes it a hip spot-to-be, yet the seating wasn’t claustrophobic like many hip restaurants are in Hong Kong these days. It has a good dose of excessive Chinese-y designs: think lion dance heads, wing chun props, golden dragons on the wall etc. At the same time, it still felt casual enough – the overly formal settings at some higher end Chinese restaurants tend to make me feel uncomfortable.
They also have two semi-private large round tables, which can accommodate up to 12 people. These spots are perfect for slightly laid back work lunches or dinners.
Lobster tail soup noodles (HK$149)
They have a whole section of different types of lobster noodles, so I say you’d definitely have to try one of them. We got the lobster tail soup noodles which I think is their signature-signature.
I walked past their transparent kitchen and saw the ‘si fu’ (noodle master) pulling the noodle dough out and plopping it into boiling water immediately after the last ‘pull’ – so the noodles are literally freshly made. They had good texture, although not extremely al dente as I personally prefer it.
But the star element of this dish was no question the lobster soup broth which was, as the colour suggests, very flavourful. At the same time, it was still light enough such that you could sip plenty of it with your noodles and it still wouldn’t feel too oily or heavy.
Peking Duck (Hk$499) *must order*
There were so many larger dishes we wanted to try. Unfortunately I came in a group of three so we could only choose one. So Peking Duck it was!
The first cut is pure crispy duck skin which you dip into sugar. This was perfectly done – sufficiently crispy but not to the point that it’s too stiff and crunchy. Of course it was fatty but I didn’t find it overly greasy, considering it was pure skin.
The second cut is the duck breast. It was slightly bland just because it was purely breast meat without any skin, but the texture was moist. Dip this into their garlic sauce and it becomes addictive. I actually ended up eating the most of this.
The third cut is from the duck’s back. It’s definitely the most delicious part with a good balance between meat, fat and skin. This part is meant for the pancakes, which were also delicate and very fresh.
Spicy Duck (HK$99) *must order*
When having Peking Duck, you usually order a second and even third course, which are supposedly made from the remaining parts of the duck that weren’t sliced up. At previous family dinners we often ordered the typical minced duck meat with lettuce/cabbage and that makes me feel unexcited.
But I loved the spicy duck they recommended here. The duck was lightly fried and exuding flavours; that meant that it was just a tad salty. But I also loved that it was just right at my maximum spice tolerance threshold.
Tofu Fa (HK$59)
We knew this place was creative from its decor. But when the tofu fa came, we were still slightly shocked. Those stringy white parts are the tofu. It looked pretty and definitely unique, but to be honest the flowery stringy pattern is purely aesthetic. Nonetheless, the soupy part was delicious – it was spiked with goji berries and other flavours.
I subsequently saw pictures of their plant-looking dessert: coconut sticky purple rice. I think I’ll definitely be back and try that instead next time!
Will be back here with more people
We thoroughly enjoyed the Peking duck and lobster noodles but the only regret we had was not coming with more people. Their menu is quite extensive; plus, the larger dishes looked much more tempting than the small starter ones. For example, we were equally appealed by the beer braised pork knuckle with rice and sesame chicken. Sharing the Peking Duck among three was do-able but got a bit boring and we still had leftovers. So I’d definitely recommend coming here with at least 4-6 people to sample their best dishes.
Dragon Noodles Academy
G/F Man Yee Building (the entrance is on the side)
23 Man Yee Lane
Phone: 2561 6688
Spend per person: HK$400-500