Monday, 2 July 2012

The Dragon Brasserie - Kingsway

I'm always a little suspicious of hotel restaurants. Somehow they manage to either be unjustifiably overpriced, or reasonable with nothing to get excited about. So I was a little apprehensive when told that I would be attending The Dragon Brasserie in The Dragon Hotel for a family get together on Saturday evening.

Firstly, the Brasserie, while technically part of the hotel, has its own entrance and does not require you to be a guest to eat there. The taxi drop-off point for the hotel is just outside the restaurant, which is convenient if nobody fancies driving (and who would when the potential for drinking beer is present!).

On entering we were greeted with the comforting smell of food, thanks to the kitchen being relatively open. It was reassuring to see the chefs in their whites, lined up behind the service area, waiting for orders.

Apart from a hen party, the restaurant was quiet when we arrived, but unfortunately the maître-de left us negotiate our way around other tables and to join them at the bar before showing us where we were to sit. A 'please wait to be seated' area near the entrance would have been a more sensible idea, considering our table was, in fact, next to the door.

Still, having found our table, we ordered a few bottles of wine and took in the atmosphere. There's a relaxed feel to the décor; wood and deep red/purple paint dominate the walls, while the hotel shows its Welsh pride by displaying photos of Welsh sportsmen and celebrities along with shots of Welsh landmarks and scenery. All very Welsh then.

With such an emphasis on the patriotic spirit of the place, I was disappointed to find there were no Welsh ales - a staple of the Welsh diet - on tap. I would have expected something from Brains or even Tomos Watkins, but there was little more than Boddingtons, Bass, Carlsburg and Strongbow on tap. Instead I shared a bottle of red wine; a drink they had plenty of choice in, from about £15 a bottle (the Chilean Monte Verde was enjoyable and went with everything I ate).

The menu is split between the à la carte and the Dinner Table menu. The latter featured about four/five choices of starter, main and desert, which gave enough variety, though the à la carte offered a wider range (this becomes more pricey). You could order two courses from the Dinner Table menu for £16.95 or three for £19.95.

To start, I went for the White Pudding Paysanne Salad (above), which combined small, meaty chunks of white pudding with fried potatoes, served with a little selection of leafs. More filling that it looked, well cooked and tasted superb.

Along with a complimentary slab of warm herby bread, this had loosened me up for my main course - the 'Chicken Marinated in Yoghurt, Lemon & Garlic on Aromatic Cous Cous', to quote the full title. This, like the other meals in the party, was another well presented dish. The chicken was moist and succulent, cooked by a chef who knew exactly what he was doing. I'm not usually someone with a raging appetite for couscous, but this too was moist and tasty. Combined with the bowl of seasonal greens - about two bowls were served for the table - I was full.

Yes, too full to consider a desert, however I still took a photo (below) of the Chocolate Brownie Eaton Mess which the majority of my party had. I did nick a little a taste and agreed it was a fine desert for chocolate lovers.

All in all, the food impressed. I think we can all agree it was not cheap, but like The Gower Kitchen, it's a price tag that is justified.

As the evening wore on, the restaurant became busier and the atmosphere livelier, before we visited the Lounge Bar, upstairs in the hotel for a nightcap (again, no need to be a resident to drink there). Add the lively atmosphere to the friendly, engaging service and impressive food and you'd be wise to consider The Dragon Brasserie for a special meal in the future.


  1. Nice, concise review as always. This place would be a good, regular option... if only they sorted out their beers!

  2. Thanks Luke - a very good place, but you are right, they just need to sort the beer selection out. Some Otley would be nice!