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DuncanEwart

LA Dragon

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I had heard stories about the very slow service in this Chinese restaurant, but myself and Mrs Ewart had no complaints tonight. And the food was very tasty. We will be back.

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I have never been, mainly because I phoned to make a booking a few weeks back and unfortunately had a quite rude guy on the other end so I didn't bother. I reckoned if you can't get customer service right at the first pint of contact you won't have it right at all.

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Funnily enough, the exact same thing happened to Mrs Ewart when she phoned. She was raging. I told her we wouldn't bother but she wanted to try it regardless. We were expecting a right shambles mainly because, as you say, the guy on the phone lead us to expect that.

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Just back from dinner at La Dragon - they've done a great job fitting the place out, and the food was great. Can recommend the monkfish Thai Red Curry. Very friendly service. Good show. 

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We went to La Dragon in March and had probably one of the worst dining experiences in a long long time, had pre-booked table for 6 of us and we arrived in plenty of time to check out champagne lounge, we were then told that our table wouldn't be ready for another hour. Eventually we were shown to our table 75 minutes later than we had booked - 3 of us ordered starters and they arrived without any problems at all, 6 main courses had been ordered at the same time as starters and didn't arrive for a further 90 minutes !!!! My wife's order was completely wrong and pointed this out to waitress at the time, she was "asked" if she wanted to wait again on her main course but that could take up to another 45 minutes so she decided just to eat what she had been given to avoid any more grief (i was working early next morning and needed an early night). Meals themselves were pretty poor to be honest with nobody out of the six of us raving about anything we had eaten, bill arrives and it was wrong tables, another bill arrives along with a guy with serious attitude problem who actually "shouted" at my wife for "not telling him that the f**king order was wrong" !!!! Fortunately one of our party escorted him away from our table before my wife could punch his lights out, the guy in our party had actually booked the table for us all as he was a supplier to the restaurant and ushered the bloke away for a quiet word about the standard of service, lack of quality of our food and his attitude towards us - we settled on paying a token amount i.e. for our drinks and walked out, needless to say we won't ever be back.

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Blimey. 

Is it exactly the same people running it? I know they had some issues early on and didn't have a booze licence, and the company running it went bust, but I don't know if it was the same people who started up again. 

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No idea if it's the same folk running it - needless to say the friend of ours that was a supplier to them stopped any business with them over our particular fiasco - i did put a lot of it down to the restaurant not being opened long but we've never been back.

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A FEW months ago, I required a Plan B when a Chinese restaurant on my radar — La Dragon in Kilmarnock — was closed on the night I intended to visit.

And, after trying the hugely impressive Lychee Oriental in Glasgow, I signed off my review by saying: “If La Dragon is even HALF as good, I can’t wait to try it.”

Well, folks, with a final score of 30/30 — compared to Lychee Oriental’s 29/30 — I guess that proves it was even BETTER.

In fact, after securing full marks, it’s just a shame for La Dragon that I discovered a REAL steak pie at Souter’s Inn in Kirkoswald and awarded the cosy Ayrshire bistro an unbeatable 31/30.

It was my pal Guy who originally tipped me the wink about La Dragon.

He insists it’s even better than the fabulous Ho Wong in Glasgow (my personal No.1 favourite) and he’s driven down the M77 with his very own dragon (wife Debbie) no fewer than four times in the past five weeks.

But if you think that wee jaunt from the southside of Glasgow speaks volumes, hello to the couple from Aberdeen who emailed to say: “After trying La Dragon while visiting friends in Kilmarnock, we’ve already been back.”

I make that a 334-mile return trip!

A restored mill in the centre of town, La Dragon is located on St Marnock Place — just across from the sheriff court building which I’ll always associate with the BBC’s fly-on-the-wall documentary The Scheme.

To be honest, I got goosebumps when I saw it.

Owners Kenny and Josephine Cheung, far left and third right, made sure auction winners John Gall, second left, and Alan McLeish, second right, had a great night

Owners Kenny and Josephine Cheung, far left and third right, made sure auction winners John Gall, second left, and Alan McLeish, second right, had a great night

It was a bit like seeing the equally iconic Nag’s Head pub from Only Fools And Horses.

If La Dragon had been open when that programme was filmed, perhaps Marvin, his dug Bullet and the rest of the Onthank gang would have held the wrap party in the restaurant’s stunning Champagne Bar.

That’s right, football fans — a Champagne Bar in Kilmarnock! That’s like discovering a nunnery in Larkhall.

Joking aside, however, I had to check the restaurant wasn’t called LA Dragon (as in Los Angeles) as I half-expected to see Hollywood A-listers sipping cocktails in this luxurious, super-cool lounge.

The word “plush” doesn’t even begin to cover it and Alan — one of my dining companions — heard a local whisper the opulent chairs in the Champagne Lounge cost £400 a pop.

He was joined by his pal John after the pair of them paid a fortune at Kilmarnock legend Kris Boyd’s testimonial dinner for a Scoff The Ball experience.

Kris, my fellow Scottish Sun columnist, was cordially invited as well — but only after I’d given a written guarantee to his club that I wouldn’t review an all-you-can-eat buffet. (According to legend, the big man was the first player to swap the traditional half-time orange for the Terry’s chocolate variety).

Kris was thrilled with the amount raised by this auction item (the proceeds go to the mental health charity he set up in memory of his wee brother Scott) and he LOVED the food at La Dragon. In fact, after polishing off three courses, he said: “I feel like celebrating — any Aberdeen fans in?”

Incidentally, for all the gags Scottish fitba’ fans make about the veteran Killie striker’s girth, I can assure you it wouldn’t have been difficult to work out which one of the four blokes at our table was the professional sportsman.

Anyway, folks, if the Champagne Lounge is breathtaking, wait until you see La Dragon’s stylish dining-room. It made the upstairs bar look like The Clansman in Still Game.

Alan (who was turning into a right wee gossip) insists the owners — Kenny & Josephine Cheung — spent about £1m on the place.

A million quid? They could have bought Galston for that!

That’ll explain why I thought the PAPER napkins at each table stood out like a sore thumb.

But the fact that’s the one and only fault I could find with La Dragon surely tells its own story. As my mate Guy predicted — and he was spot on — even the harshest food critic wouldn’t slay La Dragon.

All the dishes are cooked from scratch using fresh, local ingredients and I kicked-off with perhaps my favourite thing at any Chinese restaurant — chicken satay.

Two skewers of chargrilled, locally-sourced chicken breast served with La Dragon’s signature satay sauce and (a nice touch this) a wee pot of cooling pineapple coulis on the side. Faultless, absolutely faultless. Alan and Kris both ordered the salt and chilli shredded chicken.

Beautifully presented (just like the satay) this slightly spicy starter was another sure-fire winner. Meanwhile,

John plumped for a proper Chinese classic — chicken noodle soup. He claims to be an expert on the stuff and the best he’s ever tasted was at a Cantonese restaurant in Tenerife.

Well, good news Mr & Mrs Cheung — he thinks it was even better at La Dragon.

This wasn’t the first visit to La Dragon for John or Alan and they knew exactly what to order for main course.

Without a moment’s hesitation — and barely a look at the other tempting dishes on the a la carte menu — they both went for the Asian fillet steak. Great value at £18.95 — particularly as it’s served with your choice of rice or fries — I reckon you’d be looking at a 12oz steak if the slices of prime beef had been glued back together.

Big Kris was easily persuaded to try the same main course and, whether it was Peking style (Alan), creamy black pepper (John) or black bean (Kris), all three dishes got a massive thumbs up.

I opted for the roast pork (char sui) cooked Szechuan-style and, in terms of my usual Chinese benchmark, it was right up there with anything I’ve eaten at the Ho Wong.

The bite-sized cubes of barbecued pork worked a treat with the fiery sauce which, incredibly, was only a “four” on La Dragon’s very own heat scale. The talented chef can prepare dishes from one to seven and, based on my devilishly spicy dish, I reckon it’s a brave person who’d go beyond four.

Let’s just say that we visited the restaurant on November 5 — Bonfire Night — and I performed my very own fireworks display the minute I returned home . . .

I also ordered a Singapore rice noodle (another personal favourite) and, prepared with either beef or chicken — I opted for the latter — instead of the usual prawns/ham, I thought it was a cracking discovery.

Dessert? Promise me, folks, you’ll try the banana tempura. Like molten banana encased in a feather-light batter, it was a million miles from a bog standard banana fritter. And here’s the clincher – it was served with vanilla ice cream from Varani’s Forum Cafe.

If you want to know how delicious that stuff is, just ask ANYONE from Kilmarnock.

Meanwhile, if the Killie manager Steve Clarke and the club’s dietician could avert their eyes for a second, Kris tucked away a sticky toffee sundae (chunks of sticky toffee pudding with crushed meringue, ice-cream and hot butterscotch sauce) which he described as “the bizzo”. Aye, the big man clearly likes his grub.

A fiver says he was first attracted to Kilmarnock Football Club thanks to their finger-lickin’ initials . . .

(Sun)

https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/3536738/scoff-ball-restaurant-kilmarnock-ayrshire-restaurant-review/

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Mrs Ewart and I are booked in here tonight for a pre-match feed. Dinner with the wife, then the football (via the Brass)- I could get to like these Friday night kick offs.

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