Review: The Dragon Chamber

Review: The Dragon Chamber

The first speakeasy-themed restaurant in Singapore with a gritty kopitiam facade and bold Chinese cuisine

For those new to The Dragon Chamber, it might be a confusing five minutes as you wonder how exactly to get in. The first speakeasy-themed restaurant in Singapore, this is The Dragon Chamber’s second iteration, with the first previously located at Lokkee in Plaza Singapura.

Step past the kopitiam facade, and you’ll gain entry through a dimly lit, graffitied passage hidden behind a swivelling fridge door. There’s a bar, private dining area and other private dining rooms in line with the restaurant’s secret society hangout vibes.

 D*** Soup. Photo: Cheryl Tan

Start off with the D*** Soup if you can maintain a straight face while ordering it. A chicken and pork herbal soup base is double-boiled for six hours with crocodile penis and served in a vessel which keeps the soup piping hot. Wondering how it tastes like?

It’s a bit of a cliche at this point to describe an exotic meat as tasting like chicken, but that’s exactly what it tastes like. The soup is reminiscent of a clear double-boiled chicken soup, with just the slightest hint of herbs, and the meat, if you can call it that, tastes just like chicken. There’s something that sets it apart though, and it’s the gelatinous texture that adds a certain richness to the dish. There’s also chunks of regular chicken meat and even a chicken foot if you’re not keen on trying the crocodile penis. But why would you order this dish if you weren’t feeling adventurous in the first place?

Firecracker Chicken and Maple Fritters. Photo: Cheryl Tan

My spice tolerance has definitely improved over the years, but the Firecracker Chicken and Maple Fritters was a challenge. Composed of deep fried diced chicken chunks interspersed with chopped dried chilli, cashews, chives and Sichuan peppercorn, this dish is an absolute delight for people who love spicy food.

You get a slightnumbness from the peppercorns, but the cashew nuts help to relieve a bit of the heat in addition to the crispy you tiaofritters served in a small dish that has been coated with maple syrup. These are delicious, but a bit difficult to take apart since themaple syrup makes them stick together. If you’ve noticed that this dish seems somewhat similar to chicken and waffles, you’re absolutely right. This Asian take on the dish substitutes the you tiaofor waffles, and honestly? The spiciness makes it a lot more memorable.

Dragon Claw. Photo: Cheryl Tan

The crocodile meat doesn’t stop at the soup. One of the signature dishes here is the Dragon Claw. The restaurant sources their crocodile meat from a local farm in Singapore, and serves a single braised crocodile foot on a bed of kale with flames erupting from the pebbles below to keep the herbal gravy bubbling away merrily.

Dig into it and you’ll find skin that has a delectable gelatinous texture and fork-tender meat, with slight hints of the Chinese herbs used. People might write the addition of kale off, but personally, I found that the crunch and taste of the kale helped to keep the dish from being too rich.

Wagyu Truffle Beef Hor Fun. Photo: Cheryl Tan

But the dish of the night was the Wagyu Truffle Beef Hor Fun. With hor fun noodle strips that were both wok-fried and deep-fried, you get entirely contrasting textures and I’ll be honest, the crunch of the deep-fried hor funpieces was the best part. A small carafe of truffle gravy is poured over, then you’ll get to break open the poached egg sitting daintily on top for that ooze of egg yolk and to mix everything around.

In the end, you’re left with a bowl of noodles sitting in a rich, creamy and aromatic truffle gravy that tastes just as good as it smells. The slices of A5 Kagoshima wagyu beef were incredibly tender, and definitely made this dish even more luxurious.

Red Bean Pancakes with Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Photo: Cheryl Tan

Want to end off on a sweet note? The Red Bean Pancakes with Salted Caramel Ice Cream were a pleasant surprise. The generous scoop of ice cream had a savoury saltiness that contrasted nicely against the sweetness of the red bean paste on which it sat. The pancakes had a nice crisp exterior and a thin layer of red beanpaste inside. Topped off with drizzles of maple syrup and a light dusting of icing sugar, this modern take on a traditional Chinese dessert felt like the correct finish to all the contemporary dishes we had.

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