I think I first read about Desi Dragon in a newspaper of some sort. In a way, this can be deemed 'fateful' because I never read the news (nor do I pretend to know what's going on). The style of cuisine is described as 'Indian and Chinese'. This combination was so intriguing that I just couldn't resist and Desi Dragon soared pretty high up my 'go to' list.
As it happens, that was a long time ago but I did finally manage to visit a couple of days ago. Since I've been financially challenged of late (not my fault, it is the season for indulgence after all), I waited for a Tuesday because on Tuesdays, there's a special buy-one-get-one-free deal.
Driving to Bardon, I remember thinking that this was a part of Brisbane I'd barely been to more than once before. The restaurant itself is gorgeous. It's much larger than I thought and contradicts the unfortunate 'cheap image' stereotype that lots of Chinese and Indian restaurants have. Desi Dragon is modern, expansive and has a glorious view through it's panoramic window/walls.
We ordered drinks to start with - a glass of Chardonnay for my friend and a mini bottle of champagne for myself.
To save the effort of decision-making, we got an entree platter to share. As for mains, I thought it was just going to be buy 2 main menu items and get the cheaper one free but it's not as straight forward as that. In fact, their standard chef's menu is not available on Tuesdays and instead, the deal is you order a 'designer main' (as in, you chose a meat and chose a sauce) and get a free main out of a short list that they provide.
We 'designed' a dish with barramundi in ginger lemongrass and our free dish was lamb in chili and garlic. We also ordered 2 serves of rice (not included).
Happy dragon platter - 2 pieces of chicken saiwoo, paneer wontons and lamboo tikki with a bowl of Schezwan potato fries
The entree platter came out quickly and I was instantly impressed. We got a little sample of the offerings from the entree menu. Perhaps I was extremely hungry but everything tasted good to me. Even the little chicken pieces (the chicken saiwoo) looked like plain chicken nibblies from the supermarket but tasted BETTER somehow. The paneer wontons were a bit dry but the filling was still tasty. My favorite has to be the Schezwan potato fries which were just... genius. I want the recipe!
The chili lamb had large, tender pieces of lamb. The sauce was flavorsome and went well with the rice but to me, it didn't compliment the lamb. The chili isn't strong in terms of heat, but its flavor seemed to dominate so it was as though we were eating sauce-coated 'bits'.
The barramundi in ginger and lemongrass was a more complimentary combination. The barra was fresh and juicy and the veggies were cooked perfectly. This dish was nice but also nothing amazing to me. Both main menu items were, to me, a higher class of cafeteria Chinese stir-fry.
I love the concept of Desi Dragon. They take 2 very different yet complimentary cuisine styles and brings them together in a contemporary manner. This was best expressed in the entrees. The mains in the Tuesday special are less impressive but I have a feeling that their other mains that weren't available in that deal, such as the Jang Jiang chicken or Schezwan-style lamb shanks would have better showcased the signature style.