Fat Dragon is the latest restaurant venture by Tom Doughty and Robert Belcham, who own Campagnolo on Main Street and, until recently, Refuel on 4th. Refuel closed earlier this year, apparently due to high operating costs. This is sad as they served the best fried chicken in Vancouver.
Fat Dragon is at 566 Powell; deep in the heart of the impoverished east side, in an area with no other restaurants or indeed shops. This is definitely a bold move. This is not a location with foot traffic, not a place people will typically stumble upon; this is a destination restaurant. The theme is Pan Asian with a Southern BBQ twist.
Having read rave reviews, we gathered a group of foodie friends and headed to Fat Dragon a few weekends ago. All the food is served ‘family style’ and is meant for sharing. This is what we ordered:
- · 2 types of Bao Buns: slow smoked beef and crunchy squid
- · Jalan Alor chicken wings
- · Slow cooked lamb ribs
- · Thick cut Szechuan pork belly
- · Crispy beef ribs
- · Stir fried noodles with smokey drippings
Overall we found the quality of the food to be mixed. We loved the pork belly; it was full of flavor, not too fatty and really tasty.
The crispy beef ribs were also delish, really tender with the meat falling off the bone.
The lamb ribs were a huge disappointment, being really gamey and fatty; to the point they left a bad taste in your mouth. Not good at all.
The Bao buns were ok, but the filing inside was on the small side and I found them very bland. The chicken wings were not bad, but nothing special, they didn’t have much flavor to them. I did enjoy the noodles, which came with garlic and green onions.
We decided that while the pork belly and ribs were really good, the other dishes were disappointing so we are not in a rush to return. In a city that is saturated with Pan Asian cuisine it is odd that these renowned chefs decided to go with this theme. I wish they had decided to open up a fried chicken joint instead! As a destination restaurant I don’t know how long it will last.