THE first thing that flitted into my mind as I walked through the door of the Dragon Inn is that it hasn’t changed one bit since my last visit some years ago.
The decor at the Chinese restaurant, in London Road, Grantham, is just the same, not that that’s a bad thing, in fact I thought it quite quaint.
Sadly, the food is not as I remember it - with the exception of the delicious crispy chilli beef.
My partner and I are pretty boring when it comes to Chinese food, ordering the same dishes every time.
So we ordered a shared menu of crispy aromatic duck to start, and egg fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, crispy chilli beef and beef chow mein for our main.
Before the duck arrived we settled into our booth with our drinks and a dish of prawn crackers. We were starving and so soon polished them off, and our duck arrived only a few minutes later.
The duck was lovely, so no complaints there, and the service was very quick. Although our waiter was not particularly friendly, he was efficient and our food was brought out quickly.
When the main dishes arrived on our table, they were rather underwhelming. Not wishing to become all poetic, you expect the food to smell amazing and to make your mouth water before you even take a bite.
But there was nothing exceptional about the food presented to us.
The rice tasted pretty bland and there wasn’t much more than a hint of egg.
I thought the sweet and sour chicken was nice enough, but again not as tasty as I’ve had from other restaurants and even from take-aways. The batter wasn’t crispy and it could have done with a few more chunks of pepper.
I was really looking forward to trying the chow mein and the beef in the dish was delicious and tender. However, the noodles did taste a little burned, which was a shame.
Now, the best dish by far was the crispy chilli beef - it was delicious!
So much so I had far more than my fair share! It was the best crispy chilli beef I’ve had, and worth an entire star all on its own.
Now, I hasten to add my partner disagreed with me when we walked out into the night and I said: “Well, that was pretty average.” In contrast, he said he thoroughly enjoyed it, and had no complaints whatsoever.
We both agreed the service was ok and the food was served quickly.
I’m sure we’ll go to the Dragon Inn again - the crispy chilli beef alone is more than worth it, but I’d like to see a few improvements here and there.
by Marie Baker
Star rating HHH