Monday, April 09, 2007

Dragon Boat - City

One of the worse dining experiences I ever had in terms of food was at Dragon Boat in Knox. I thought the city Drgaon Boat would be different, how wrong I was. The dining experience at the city Dragon Boat was equally bad that we all left so angry despite paying quite a lot of money.

It didn't start well with the maitre d' greeting us with his deadpan face and then just showing us to a table and throwing the menus down. Even when we tried to ask questions about the seafood prices, he just answered like he couldn't care less and quickly walked away. I've come to expect fairly rude service from some Chinese restaurants, especially when I'm Chinese. You get anti-discrimination. Instead of being treated well because you're Chinese, you get treated badly. This is because they know that we won't kick up a fuss and so they don't bother wasting their time and limited niceness left in them on us. Instead, if you're a Westerner, at most places you will get treated very well even if you order much less food than your Chinese counterpart. This is because Westerners will complain if something is not up to scratch. But at Dragon Boat in the city, everyone gets treated equally unwell from what I could see.

We decided to order the lobster with noodles to start with. The lobster arrived quite a while later, with no complimentary soup to start off with. I've never been to Dragon Boat in the city so don't know if no one gets complimentary soup or if it was just us. Whatever it was, that's still bad since how much can a bowl of clear soup cost you. At $48 a pound for lobster and $10 for noodles with the lobster, you would think they could afford to give us a free bowl of soup to get our appetite going. Anyway, we ate our lobster, already unhappy. It was ok, nothing any better than other Chinese restaurants. In fact, the noodle wasn't good, so it was worse than other restaurants.

After the lobster, everything just went from awful to totally awful. The Beef with Seasonal Vegetables (I don't exactly call canned baby corn and canned mushroom seasonal) was totally disgusting. It was cold and starting to coagulate a little when it got to us. The beef is what I call "frumpy" beef where it has been soaked in so much bi-carb soda that all flavour has been drained from it. This is because they use the cheapest cut of meat and soaking in bi-carb soda softens the meat and also allows it to be pre-cut up and left in the fridge for a week almost. I should know, I used to work part time in a Chinese restaurant.

So after the disgusting beef, we then had the "Claypot" Chicken with Spring Onions. Local restaurants around my house do a $7 Claypot Chicken that uses a real claypot and comes sizzling and delicious. This $20 Claypot Chicken came in this metal pot and was warm at best. The chicken was coated in so much glaze that again it didn't even taste like chicken.

The Lemon Chicken, a dish you couldn't possibly do wrong, was done wrong. The batter was so thick and not fully cooked through. We picked out the bad bits and ate what we could since we were hungry from a day of travelling.

When we finished our meal, we were totally unhappy and ready to leave. Even then, the bill took an eternity to come and we almost had to walk up to the counter to ask for it. There was no complimentary fruit and Chinese sweet soup, but we expected that. We left no tip at all not surprisingly.

The atmosphere in there was not exactly buzzing but how could we enjoy anything when we were all so angry from the food and the lack of service. The one redeeming thing was one waitress who was very nice and got us fresh chilli and ice water immediately, with a smile on her face and very quickly. As for the rest of the staff, espeically the maitre d', they might be getting paid very little, but it is still their job and they should do it well. If they are that unhappy, quit for heavens sake. Life is too short to be that unhappy.

The food was so awful that I swear I will never, NEVER, go back unless for some exceptional circumstances such as being invited there by someone else or if the food is free.

Overall Rating: 5/20, Food beyond awful with service to match. Prices ridiculous for the awful food you get. DO NOT GO TO THIS RESTAURANT! That's my recommendation and I never recommend that people don't go and try things out for themselves. I gave 4 points for the lobster which was edible and 1 for the waitress. Save your money and go elsewhere that will do much better Chinese food.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Dragon Boat on Urbanspoon


  1. Hi Thanh,

    Sorry to hear what you had to endure at Dragon Boat- we had a similar experience food-wise but found the service was actually pretty good though. :)

  2. Hi M's nemesis, it was really quite hard to endure. As each dish came out, we were all cursing (without swear words so is that still cursing, you know what I mean) about how bad the food was. I'm happy to hear that I'm not the only one who has had bad food there.

    As for the service, firstly I'm glad that you had good service. It wasn't all bad, the one waitress was very nice, hence I gave her one point alone. The maitre d' was totally sour faced. Even when he gave us the bill, there was no "Thanks for eating here" and a half smile at least. Then when we left, he was clearing standing at the door and instead of opening the door for us and saying "Hope to see you again" or something similar, he clearly turned his back on us and walked away. That's the type of service we got for spending a few hundred dollars there.

  3. This place was rated one of the top 3 places to dine according to John So Great Melborne Dining Guide 2008.

    We must have went to the wrong one.

    Sharon: Perhaps you are expecting too much service:

    Queenie: Shows your level of understanding of chinese food.

  4. Anonymous, maybe John So had a vested interest in this restaurant. Probably his relatives or some friends of his own it. I can definitely say this place was utterly terrible.