Near St Vincents Hospital, opposite The Green Park Hotel. Close to buses; five minutes’ drive from the CBD.PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Taking up two levels of dedicated dining space, Dragon Den indeed encourages a Vietnamese feasting session. The restaurant is brightened up with red walls matched to green napery, and while the water feature in the corner is a little pitiful it provides a tranquil trickling nonetheless. Thick-set wooden tables and chairs are quickly filled up with the strolling crowds of Victoria Street, and plates of steaming aromatic food are ferried out at a staggering rate – especially when you consider that there’s only one person running the floor.
Begin your tasty experience with some soft shell crab with wasabi mayonnaise, and some of the highly-praised fresh rice paper rolls. The Vietnamese pancakes are a little oily but still scrummy when drizzled with Dragon Den sauce and freshened up with been sprouts and Asian herbs. The bo tai chanh rump fillet beef salad with fresh chillies, garlic, lime juice, brown onions and coriander leaves has a zesty punch and is served with prawn crackers – perfect for using as scooping utensils. The slow-cooked caramelised chicken with chillies, garlic and ginger is not only a treat for the tastebuds and a house speciality, it’s also presented with pizzazz causing neighbouring diners to take an interest. A sturdy wine list finds pleasing Aussie matches to the Asian cuisine or you can bring your own grog at $5 per bottle. Creme caramel, fried ice-cream and banana fritters appease any sweet desires, otherwise there are heaps of funky local pubs nearby for those who want to kick on.