Despite London’s large Chinese population, finding good authentic Chinese food at a reasonable price is somewhat difficult – China Town is OK but generally expensive and the quality/hygiene questionable. However, when you scratch beneath the surface, there is the odd gem to be found and sometimes in the most unassuming of places. One such place can be found south of the Thames not far from where I’ve been working and over the past year has become a popular haunt for Friday lunch of almost mythical proportions. One of my colleagues has kindly written a review which I thought I might share (complete with my iPhone photos) –

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An unassuming blue building at the Elephant end of Walworth Road – Indian Cafes, ropey B&Bs, the world famous Ivory Arch nightspot. Not necessarily where one would expect to find a restaurant of any true quality, but then life is full of unexpected pleasures. At the far end are a set of doors that would not look out of place along the Great Wall and behind them lie sublime culinary delights not of this world.

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The Dragon Castle menu has all the regular Chinese restaurant favourites – sweet and sour chicken, crispy duck etc – and some unusual but tantalising specialities, but the real draw is the dim sum. The highlight is the scallop and coriander cheung fun – juicy scallops and fresh coriander wrapped in a sheet of glistening cheung fun. Other favourites include the Vietnamese spring rolls, beef balls, sesame prawn rolls – a far cry from the usual sesame prawn toasts. The dumplings are a real treat, steamed or fried, pork or prawn, or both for that matter – I am salivating just thinking about them.

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The dim sum specials menu has just been updated with some truly delicious new ideas – mixed seafood dumplings and honeyed venison puffs are the star attractions.

You might think that all this is sounding a little pricey for lunch, but amazingly no matter how much you order the bill is never above £15 per head – perhaps this really is some magical realm!

So go, go now and try some of the joys that I have mentioned, and some that I have not, but make sure you get there by 5pm, because that’s when the dim sum chefs knock off.

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