Lucky Dragon, Ambleside, December 2016

A return to an old tradition. For many years, we had a Chinese takeaway on New Year’s Eve. With the closure of Ambleside favourite Jade Garden, this tradition was threatened. We did try an alternative a few years ago, but it wasn’t so good. So for the last few years, we have switched to Thai, with visits to Jintana in 2014 and 2015.

When we rung them up tonight, we were in for a shock. No takeaways. Never mind the fact they’ve been doing it for many years, they just decided to change their mind. Their loss is Lucky Dragon’s gain.

Just a short walk down the same road, Lucky Dragon is a Chinese takeaway, and nothing else. They hadn’t decided to stop doing takeaways tonight, so we carried on down the road to them, and ordered our dinner.

As it’s a celebratory night, crispy duck should be consumed, so we ordered some. It was very good, crispy, not greasy and with good accompaniments.

For the main course, I chose Kung Po chicken, as it’s the dish that I use to test any Chinese restaurant. It was very good indeed, so good that I didn’t stop to take a picture. It was nice and spicy, a good level of chilli heat. There was no pineapple and there were no cashew nuts, common ingredients in many versions of this dish but different places use variations.

What I can show you is a very interesting beer, the Flat Pack Fruit Bat raspberry smoothie IPA – a confusing conflict in a can. The nose is very hoppy, but the taste is smooth and full of fruitiness, with barely a trace of those hops. It’s really nice and goes well with a spicy chicken dish.

A great takeaway, and it should be your first choice for Chinese in Ambleside.

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