The Dragon Inn Club on 16 – 18 Upper Tachbrook Street reports to bea “secret hideaway venue featuring ancient dark wood bamboo, authentic ornaments and decor recreating the voyage of the Silk Road …’ The clue is in the name Dragon Inn Club, as on entering the front door you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking you were in a pub. Staff smoking outside the front door, sticky floors and a shabby interior. Yet, the smell of incense drawing the diner down to the lower levels suggested there is a little more in store. Go downstairs and the ‘authentic’ Eastern experience begins. The dining area is vast with floor to ceiling dark woods and bamboo, low lighting, numerous red lanterns, ceiling tiles, ornaments and ceramics. This seemingly ‘authentic’ oriental journey seemed rather questionable as one could have pointed out that ‘less is more.’ That said, in some ways this rather cheesy appearance added to the atmosphere and curiosity about what oriental flavours we were soon to sample.
Our waiter could not be faulted. Attentive and eager to point out what the menu had to offer, and which wines would go nicely with which dish, he made us feel very welcome. Jasmine tea to wash the palate cleanwas the first order of the day. To follow, 8 parcels of Dim Sum (£12.50) prawn, scallop, fish and spinach and saffron vegetables. Sadly, these had little taste and were over heavy for a starter. The Duck salad with yuzu dressing (£10.80) was much nicer although our waiter did have to go and ask the chef what yuzu sauce was, and for which we are still none the wiser. The wok grilled Kagoshima Wagyu rib-eye with barbeque sauce was tender, tasty but very over priced at £65.00. The better dish was in fact the Scallops, with wild mushroom, asparagus and goji berries at £14.80, however on this occasion the goji berries which we were looking forward to tasting were missing from the plate.
There are many qualities about this hidden London venue not least the helpful staff and quirky interior. However, while the menu was interesting the quality did not match up to expectations.
Dragon Inn Club (18 Upper Tachbrook Street, London SW1 (020 7821 0105; dragoninnclub.co.uk)