[London] When it comes to roast duck supremacy in London, 3 players are battling it out: the well-established and pricier Four Seasons, New Fortune Cookie and, the largest of the 3, Gold Mine.
Gold Mine is gaining strength from all the good reviews from travellers to Bayswater district, most of my friends are now recommending Gold Mine over Four Seasons.
If you’re hankering for Chinese food in London, then Gold Mine in Bayswater is said to be one of London’s best. But do not expect classy or contemporary, this is really as old-school Cantonese as it get, and somewhat reminded me of Hong Kong restaurants in their 90s.
Time Out lists Gold Mine as one of London’s best Chinese restaurants, while TripAdvisor ranks it as #14. It is also hailed as one of the 10 Great Chinese Restaurants in London by Culture Trip, a fast-growing London-based media site.
The furniture & décor are what you expect of a Chinese restaurant: round tables with white table cloths, Lazy Susan’s for tables for 8-12, gold-trimmed red-cushioned chairs, and a matching red carpet.
Space is maximized (i.e. tables are close to each other) to accommodate as many as possible, be prepared to squeeze. There is a VIP section on the 2nd floor, with 3 tables that can seat a total of 28 guests.
It is of the typical bustling Hong Kong style restaurant that can be noisy to some. Seat turnover is high as diners come, eat and go. Not the place to linger or chill.
However the staffs, perhaps due to their experience, manage the crowd efficiently, effortlessly taking orders even from a group of 20.
I was kind of worried that I would be scolded the HK-way as I was slow in ordering, but the service staff was patient but still went…”I will come back later ah…”
Gold Mine’s a la carte menu is a numbered list of 193 items (yes, 193!) plus 5 duck dishes. For the uninitiated, this is a dizzying total of 198 dishes to choose from. Prices for the a la carte main courses range from £6-35 (SGD10.94-63.84).
More often than not, people come here for the signature dish Special Roast Duck Cantonese Style made extra succulent using fatter-than-others Irish duck, minus the robust gaminess.
Short-legged and thick-chested Irish ducks have a high fat content averaging 30 to 35%. It is this fat that keeps the bird moist during high temperature roasting.
The much coveted Special Roast Duck costs £11.80 (SGD21.50) per portion, £14.80 (SGD27) half, and £24.80 (SGD45.20) whole.
I wanted to order the “portion” first, but the waitress went…”The half is £3 more only” and so I went along (but couldn’t finish in the end).
You can order it deboned or not. While bone-in seemed more flavourful, I had the bones removed as it would be easier to eat.
Couple that with excellent seasoning and crispy skin, the best thing about this duck to me was its dark, sweet special sauce which was mildly addictive. The meat was not that gamey all right, with high portion of fats, but I did expect it to be tenderer.
If you prefer a crispy version, go for the Deep Fried Crispy Aromatic Duck, served with pancakes, spring onions, and cucumber. Get a quarter (£10, SGD18.23), half (£17, SGD31.00) or whole (£32.00, SGD58.35).
The Barbecued Pork (Char Siu) (£9, SGD$16.42) is worth trying, though you may find better versions somewhere else.
Others love the Grilled Lobster in Crushed Garlic (Goldmine Style) (price varies), Salt & Pepper Squid, Tofu Stew, Wonton Noodle Soup, Xiao Long Bao, and the spicy Fried Vermicelli Singapore Style.
I particularly enjoyed the Dim Sum items better, such as the plump and succulent Pork & Prawn Siu Mai (£4.20, SGD7.65), Fried Squid Cakes (£4.20, SGD7.65) and Seafood Dragon Beard Rolls (£6.50, SGD11.80).
The restaurant is about 100 meters away from the Bayswater Underground Station. From the tube station, head south on Queensway/B411 toward Moscow Road. Gold Mine will be on the right, just a minute walk away.
Expect a queue when you go to Gold Mine. But don’t simply stand in line. Make sure you approach the host first, have your name listed down for a table, then wait in line. Or you can always make a reservation.
Gold Mine (102 Queensway Paddington)
102 Queensway, Paddington, London W2 3RR, UK (Nearest station: Bayswater)
Tel: +44 20 7792 8331
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 11:00pm Daily
Google Maps – Gold Mine (102 Queensway Paddington)
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