Real Chinese, just as Uncle likes it – Golden Dragon, Colindale

29 Oct 2017

My uncle used to travel all over the world for his work and return home with fantastic stories from the far east. Most fascinating to me were the tales about the hospitality afforded to him by his hosts in China. Chinese hospitality seemed to know no bounds where evenings were spent enjoying lavish meals, with endless courses and exotic and wonderful dishes. I enviously listened as my uncle told me of his fear of finishing his plate, in order not to offend his hosts who would then feel obliged to bring out more dishes.

I was very pleased therefore, to be asked to review The Golden Dragon in Colindale.

I eat out regularly in Soho’s Chinatown, so was happy to hear that the Golden Dragon, a fun and lively place on Gerrard Street, had now branched out to a 300-seat restaurant in North London. It shares its site with the Bang Bang Oriental food hall, where I will definitely be back to sample the wide variety of Thai, Malaysian, Chinese and Japanese eateries.

Walking into the Golden Dragon, it felt like the opulent surroundings I imagine typical of the places my uncle was treated to on his travels. It has the feeling of a grand oriental hotel, with large, round tables, bright lighting and traditional décor. The kind of place I can see my uncle struggling under the enormous dumpling of hospitality.

The service was attentive, and immediately we were shown the vast menu with accompanying specials. A very good-humoured waiter offered advice, asking us how spicy we liked our food so he could recommend accordingly.

We started with salt and chilli squid, a go-to dish for me and a litmus test for any restaurant that puts it on its menu. Golden Dragon’s version hit the spot, crisp, spicy, salty and garnished with enough fried garlic to bring out the inner dragon. Although perfectly able to use chopsticks, it’s the kind of thing I find myself reaching for a spoon to shovel off of the plate. Chilli dumplings were light and moreish. A good indicator that it is worth coming back for the lunch-time dim sum menu.

On our waiter’s recommendation we opted for the special spicy crab for our next course, which didn’t disappoint. A whole brown crab arrived, with a sauce that had the heat and fragrance usually associated with Malaysian food. The accompanying fried mantou buns were the perfect vehicle for mopping up the sauce.

Singapore-style Ho Fun noodles, lacked a little oomph, but made up for it with silky-soft, comforting thick rice noodles and generous amounts of shrimp and char siu pork. Kai Lan (Chinese broccoli) with ginger was cooked as I’d hoped, al dente, vibrant green and with a real kick of ginger.

Finally, we had lamb chops with ginger and spring onions. One of the mysteries of Chinese cooking is how they are able to make the meat so tender even though the lamb was cooked through.

Initially, prices seemed on the high side, however portion sizes were clearly meant for sharing. I can’t wait to come back one lunchtime to try the dim sum with my family around a lazy Susan, and bring my uncle, who I’m sure would very much approve.

Harry

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