Dragonfly on Courtenay
On the site that used to house Uncle Changs on Courtenay Place is a new Asian dining lounge called Dragonfly (classy website), an experience of sharing and enjoying a variety of dishes from south east asia.
We bowled in last night (Friday) around 7pm for a look and chancing of luck about dining there. They didn’t have any tables available in the near future but invited us to have a drink and look at the garden bar out the back (very Matterhorn, lots of bamboo with a sail overhead), and offered that we could dine out there also. The same menu applies throughout the premises. Too cold for dining in the garden bar last night, and small tables/dim lighting in the bar meant we decided on just a drink and nibble this time.
There appears to have been a chunk of money invested here, a very sleek look (lots of black with red lighting), clever spaces for diners around a central kitchen, understated but effective wall hangings here and there, a hallway that feels a little like a secret tunnel, and separation of the diners and the drinkers (way down the back in the bar and garden bar, quite large premises all up). The place is very inviting.
So to a cocktail (Thai Foon) for me, having read about it coming in a science lab style beaker (yep it did), beer for him, and pork and chive dumplings to sample the wares. A chat with the bar lad revealed that the Thai Foon included a Thai rum they make on site (thinner, lighter and sweeter courtesy of palm sugar). Nice. As was the cocktail.
In a display of excellent service, the maitre’d who’d escorted us to the bar came and found us shortly after we got settled, offering us first choice on a table that had become available. The waitress we had from then on was also very polished and ensured we understood the menu intention (sharing of small or larger offerings) and checked we understood the spiciness of the green papaya salad when we chose it. And made sure our bar-ordered dumplings were redirected to the right place. Nice again.
The menu is interesting, not just for the offerings (Son-in-Law duck eggs with fried basil, shredded lime leaf, roasted rice and four flavour sauce; soft shell crabs; eggplant with candied cashew nuts and thai salads; southern clams wok tossed in hot and sour sauce; massaman peanut curry braised angus beef short ribs, baby potato and pea snaps with cardamom, cassia bark, tamarind and thai basil…..) but for the origami-style folded presentation.
The food is fresh and tasty, there has been a lot of thought go into the design and presentation of the premises, staff and food (down to plates and bowls), and they’re off to a slick and wobble-free start. I shall most definitely go back. With friends. A couple of times.