This old-school restaurant on Chinatown’s main drag has had its ups and downs over the years but is currently on top form – a well-deserved popularity attested to by the long queues of Chinese families queueing for weekend dim sum.
Don’t be put off – there’s never too long to wait for a table in the large two-floor dining room decorated in classic Chinatown style with fibreglass dragons, paper-clothed tables and hard-wearing carpets. Golden Dragon might not threaten Hakkasan or Yauatcha in the design stakes but it all looks spic and span and not without its own comfortingly familiar charm.
Daytime dim sum delivers well-steamed dumplings, skilfully fried rolls and pastry parcels baked to perfection. Slithery sheets of char-siu cheung fun, nicely seasoned beef balls and prawn-stuffed har gau have all impressed from the steamed section recently, as have guiltier pleasures of deep-fried prawns with salad cream for dipping and pastry triangles stuffed with roast pork.
Once the dim sum ends at 5pm, we’d recommend springy coils of salt-and-pepper squid, deep-filled pork dumplings or crisp bites of smoked chicken with garlic and chilli. To follow, hot pots deliver complex, deep flavours, or there’s an excellent rendition of roast pork atop a bed of crispy noodles.
But don’t feel any shame ordering all of your high-street favourites here. Prawn toast, barbecued spare ribs, sweet and sour pork and beef in black bean sauce are all prepared to the same high standard, though some eel dishes aside, this is not the place to explore the more esoteric side of Chinese cooking.
To drink, there’s a short wine list, though Chinese teas and Asian beers are really the best thing to order here.
Add in staff who are friendlier than the Chinatown norm and reasonable prices for large portions and Golden Dragon is a reliable name to know before the theatre, after the pub or anytime that some straight-up Cantonese cooking is required.