Dragon Express has opened to brighten up a fairly shabby Sunshine sidestreet and upon entering, it's a bit like going back in time. Alongside wood-panelled walls, tables are set with placemats with wispy imperial motifs. Forks and spoons are carefully set and in the middle of each table are salt and pepper shakers alongside the soy sauce.
The pride in this new business is evident, from the pressed uniforms, lucky red napkins folded with military precision, the very personable service and the fact that everything is spotless.
Home made chicken dim sims, $2.50
Homemade chicken dim sims were quite good with a fresh, peppery filling, reminiscent of South Melbourne Market's epic dimmies.
Sesame prawns, $3
Sesame prawn toast, minced prawns smushed onto white bread that's drenched in sesame seeds and deep fried. If it couldn't already get so (deliciously) retro, check out the carved carrot! Love it.
Malaysian sotong, $14
Dragon Express has a mega menu of your choice of meat, vegies and sauce but I am always drawn to the chef's specials, many of which here have a Malaysian flavour. "Malaysian sotong" was fantastic - big juicy pieces of pineapple-cut squid, deep fried in light batter, augmented by crispy snow peas. The sauce was light in flavour yet pleasantly thickened in texture with creamy egg and chilli zing. I have no idea if it was authentic, but it sure was tasty.
Singapore prawn, $14
Singapore prawns were also the business - quality fresh prawns in lots of lovely eggy sweet tomato gravy.
Stir fried green vegetables, $9
It's not so hard to eat your greens when they are tasty like this. Plenty of crunch and loads of garlic which surprisingly wasn't all that pungent.
DE Special Hokkien Noodles (chicken), $9
They need to dial up the dragon's breath on the Dragon Express Special Noodles - they lacked wok hei, the authentic "charred" texture and flavour good wok-cooked noodles should have, tasting almost simmered in the thick sweet soy sauce.
Some may sneer at all these retro touches - the carved carrot, the pointy napkins, the salt and pepper - but they remind me of my childhood, and they are all done with care and a sense of pride. The food is super fresh, tasty and the service is very personal. You can stop by for lunch where half a main (beef, chicken or pork) and rice costs a staggering $6.50.
May the coming year of the Dragon bring many happy returns to Dragon Express.
Thank you very much to Kenny of Consider the Sauce for the great tip!
COMMENT UPDATE - Blogger have rather fortuitously just yesterday instituted a reply system, so I can now reply directly to your comments. Yay!
Dragon Express (Facebook)
28 City Place, Sunshine
Phone: 9312 6968
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, 4:30pm-10pm, Sat and Sun 4.30pm-10pm
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