Published on October 15th, 2014 | by Ann Rickard0
Dragon Bull – Bar and Restaurant
Things are going to get messy at Dragon Bull Bar and Restaurant.
It’s best you know this before you go to the new Asian restaurant at Sunshine Beach.
But it’s a good messy, and only correct when you are eating Asian street-style food. Fortunately brown paper covers the tables so you can get as untidy as you like with your chopsticks over your whole chargrilled eggplant with Chinese spices and confit garlic.
And be as messy as you want with your Sichuan popcorn prawns in dried chilli.
Slop your Korean beef and shitake all over the place if that’s the way you like it.
If you love the fresh and vibrant flavours of Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia then you are going to love Dragon Bull.
Owner Adrian Krause grew up in Malay and developed a fascination for regional Chinese dishes rarely seen outside mainland China.
He knows his food, as does his wife, Xiao, from the Chinese province of Hunan.
Add to that their experience gained working in Antigua, Bora Bora, St Barts and the Greek Islands and you have an operation backed by knowledge and understanding.
“Our fusion of Asian street food and Spanish tapas is unusual and alluring,” Adrian said.
So it is.
The couple opened Dragon Bull in July with the intention of giving us originality, and this is expressed in the multilayering of flavours in every item on the menu.
The steamed dumplings look like most dumplings – pale, round, appealing – but these cuties are filled with a consommé surrounding the succulent pork so each bite gives a burst of fragrant liquid into the mouth.
The Te Gou Ti, gyoza originating in China during the Mongol rule, are flat with a fried texture encasing the pork.
A box of calamari served as it would be from a vendor on the street proved beautifully tender but with the pungency of Javanese sambal terasi (a sauce of mostly chilli with shrimp paste and garlic).
Dragon Bull enjoys a big space in Duke St (below Embassy XO, don’t get confused) with inside and outside dining, a large open kitchen so you can watch the chefs prepare the nigri and sashimi (called ‘Japanese inside-out rolls here), and a ceiling of parasols which adds a dash of Japanese grace.
Plans are afoot for renovations over the next few weeks to further upgrade the look.
The menu is designed for sharing so you can get to know the myriad of flavours.
Little chilli symbols beside each dish tell you what is really hot and what is mild, a help for timid palates.
Especially fiery is the Sichuan hot pot, a sizzling brew of seafood, tofu and sweet potato noodles with a spicy broth that bubbles long after it has settled on the table.
You need to take your time dipping into this one to savour the layers and nuances.
Because those inside-out-rolls kept flashing temptingly past us on their way to other tables, we had to give in to a taste.
Particularly pretty were the black voodoo rolls with avocado inside black tobiko (fish roe) topped with salmon.
And who could not order the Noosa Beach rolls? Mango and salmon topped with avocado and red tobiko and miso have a Japan-meets-Noosa vibe.
Adventurous palates will find much to their liking at Dragon Bull. Fermented cabbage in chilli and spice; lobster and red curry seaweed salad with honey and sour fruit of yuzu; chilled coconut soup shots with tapioca, grass jelly, sultanas and goji berries are just a few to mention.
Then there are the swordfish pancakes on sticks that come to the table with a small paint brush to paint on accompanying wasabi and chilli water. See why the need for paper on the tables?
There is a lot going on at Dragon Bull but it is all well researched and brought to you with the confidence of Adrian and Xiao’s years of experience.
The wine list is succinct and comprises mostly old world wines, all light and carefully chosen to match such spicy food.
Four Aussie wines keep up standards.