Saturday, 20 September 2008

Gold Mine

It's now a matter of debate which Chinese restaurant serves the best roast duck in London. 2 or 3 years ago, the answer was easy - the Four Seasons, in Bayswater Road, of course. It was (and probably still is) famous to the point that people would fly in from the Far East to sample the roast duck. It was perfectly cooked, the sauce was perfectly spiced, and the duck was fattier than most ducks available in Asia, creating perfectly crispy skin, with a perfect degree of succulence.

About 2 years ago, however, the chef from Four Seasons, whom many people, including myself, assume was responsible for the roast duck, left. He then opened a restaurant, Gold Mine, a few doors down from the Four Seasons. Ever since then, roast duck aficionados have been trying to come to a consensus over which is better.

Gold Mine
102 Bayswater Road
London W2 3RR
+44 20 7792 8331

My personal opinion is that Gold Mine's roast duck is better - it's exactly as the Four Seasons' roast duck used to be in the late 90s, when I was still in university and a plate of roast duck rice was the epitome of budget-busting hot meals. It's everything I described above, dry, yet succulent underneath the crispy skin. The Four Seasons' duck, on the other hand has less crispy skin and is more oily, with more of the fat rendered out into the sauce.

As far as the wider community is concerned though, the jury is still out.

No matter. Gold Mine has pretty decent food, other than the roast duck. Here, I also believe that the quality is better than that of the Four Seasons'. My favourite dishes include spinach with fermented bean curd, aubergine hotpot, and stewed yam and belly pork. The Pretty Lady is always well served by the plethora of bean curd dishes on the menu. There's braised, fried and stewed, including that old staple, red-cooked bean curd.

The roast meats also pass the test. Roast char siu pork is as good as the Four Seasons', if not noticeably better. The roast belly pork is also fairly decent, with a nice thick layer of pork fat and suitably crispy crackling. One thing I've not tried is the soya roast chicken, but it definitely looks good.

Gold Mine is almost exactly what it says on the tin - decent, well-executed Cantonese cooking. And there's the added bonus of great roast duck.


20 September 2008: TFQ = 24, CS = 24, S = 10, AD = 6, VfM = 8. Total = 72 points.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you forgot to mention the wan ton mee..!