[Hong Kong] Dragon Noodles Academy 龍麵館
In a way, Dragon Noodles Academy is as Chinese as you can get by paying homage to Hong Kong traditions and culture with a setting straight out of a Kung Fu academy complete with exquisite handmade lion heads, Wing Chun wooden dummies and real Wushu weapons that you can get your hands on. The food is a modern take on Chinese cuisine with contemporary presentations and authentic flavors. The playful presentations were reminiscent of Yum Cha and Social Palace but DNA offers more complex and traditional dishes as well as lobster noodles as its star attraction with no use of MSG.
The first think you will see when you enter the restaurant is a giant golden dragon on the wall which took three master craftsmen working 8 hours a day for 60 days to hand carve the dragon before painting it with real gold and finishing it with gold leaf.
These handmade copper wulus are another rare find and used to serve water and craft beer at the restaurant.
Twelve lion heads adorned one side of the wall in red and green to represent Guan Yu and Zhang Fei respectively.
The restaurant was much bigger and spacious than I expected it to be with a few private rooms as well.
The Berry Wintermelon ($69) was the perfect dish to kick off our meal as the sweet and acidic flavors whetted our appetites. Presented as a bunch of grapes, these winter melon balls were dipped in a blueberry sauce to add a gorgeous hue of purple color.
The centerpiece of DNA's open kitchen is the Lobster Noodle Station so obviously the lobster noodles are a must-try here. The chefs will make fresh Lanzhou noodles from scratch when the orders are placed and you can choose to have your Boston lobster three ways - grilled lobster tail, lobster claw or lobster meat wontons. We had the Lobster Tail Soup Noodles ($149) and Lobster & Shrimp Roe "Lo Mein" ($149), and I was absolutely in love with the broth in the soup noodles which had been slow-cooked for 5 hours with 3 different kinds of whole fresh fish in addition to whole rock lobsters, diced root vegetables and a dash of brandy. It was like a lobster bisque almost and the rich luscious flavors were totally irresistible.
The Wood-Oven Whole Peking Duck + Pancakes ($499) had been smoked in the wood-oven with apple wood chips and served three ways – crispy golden skin, tender meat and skin with meat. I liked the creative sauces and condiments on the side but the skin and meat could have been crispier and juicier though.
The Mock Shark's Fin ($119) was prepared in front of us with 8 ingredients tossed together including egg yolk, imitation shark fin, bean sprouts, scallion, cubed meat, osmanthus egg, crab roe and crab meat. No oil was added at all and the smell was super enticing while the taste was equally delicious.
The 24 Hrs Ale-Braised Pork Knuckle & Rice ($399) takes its inspiration from Chinese braised pork knuckle and Spanish paella. The pork knuckle is slow-cooked with local craft beer for 24 hours and served with pomegranate and vegetable rice.
The 8 Treasure Beggar's Chicken ($399) was a real special treat as only 2 servings of it are available during lunch and dinner each day. Inspired by the classic beggar's chicken dish, the chicken had been stuffed with abalone, roast meat, bean curd, mushroom, ginkgo nuts, lotus seed, quail egg and adlay first being being wrapped in mud and baked for 4 hours. The process of revealing the chicken was quite theatrical as it required using a hammer to crack the mud open and it is a fun dish to share with a group of people.
The playful presentations continued into desserts and I especially admired the beautiful knife work in my tofu fa in ginger osmanthus sweet soup.
Dragon Noodles Academy 龍麵館
Shop G04, G/F, Man Yee Building
68 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
Tel: +852 2561 6688
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