Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“Amazing and authentic Chinese cuisine” – particularly “top dim sum” – wins consistent acclaim this year for this “barn-like” but “buzzy” Cantonese venue, stuck out near Elephant & Castle, which is “full of Chinese families, especially at weekends”. “It’s back on song after a dip in recent times, with some interesting new regional dishes on the menu”.
“Excellent for an area which frankly doesn’t have much, and good overall!” – a big, cavernous Cantonese near Elephant & Castle whose dim sum are “freshly prepared and very good value”. What sets it apart are the “more interesting regional dishes” introduced by “a new chef who has revitalised the menu”.
“In the most unlikely of locations”, near Elephant & Castle, this “cavernous” Cantonese is “worth a trip”; it may look a little “tired”, but its dim sum is “amazing value, and comes in great abundance”.
“The best dim sum south of the river” has made quite a name for this “keenly priced” fixture, near Elephant & Castle; declining service standards, though, have contributed to a rather “soulless” feel of late.
Dragon Castle SE17
London's ethnic mix is endlessly confusing. Everyone knows that Southwark has large Black African and Black Caribbean populations. But did you know it's one of the city's top Chinese hot-spots? (London's only ward in to have more than 5% Chinese population, is turns out, is nearby Millwall in Tower Hamlets.)
The lunchtime population at this improbably large and grand new Elephant & Castle Chinese seemed a fair reflection of the prevailing local mix - half black and half oriental (plus the Harden table). It will be interesting to see if more visitors from outside the area soon feature in the mix, because this place looks set to become a true benchmark, easily rivalling the behemoths of Chinatown, and perhaps even Bayswater.
First, this large, lofty and brightly-lit chamber, brightly decorated in yellow, certainly looks the part. And on the steamy day we visited, with cold air cascading from the overhead air conditioners, we certainly felt we were in a location much more exotic than south London.
Second, service - always polite, efficient, and with more than a hint of a smile - was a very welcome change from your standard Chinatown indifference going-on hostility.
Third, the food. Well, to be honest it would take a week to eat through the menu here, which comes complete with pretty much all the Cantonese classic dishes you've ever heard of, plus a few fusion numbers. So we can only claim to have skimmed the surface. What we can say, however, is that absolutely everything we had - including dim sum from the extensive lunchtime menu - was realised to a standard equalled by relatively few other Chinese restaurants around town.
Whether you're looking for a emblem of multi-cultural London - of just a decent Chinese dinner - you're unlikely to do much better than here.
100 Walworth Rd, London, SE17 1JL
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Monday to Sunday 12pm to 11pm; Dim Sum 12pm to 4.30pm
Last orders: 11 pm, Sun 10 pm