Monday, August 25, 2014

Family Din Din at Golden Leaf

This time we didn't go far to have a casual din din with my folks (last time we went all the way up to Tuen Mun for seafood). Saw the credit card promotion offering discounts for restaurants at Conrad, and I realized we have never tried Golden Leaf - the Chinese restaurant at the hotel - for dinner previously, so thought it's a good idea to check it out.

We ordered a couple cold appetizers to start and both were pretty decent. The jelly fish -  tossed with spring onions and sesame oil - was flavorful and with the right crunchy texture. The portion looked a bit small at first but turned out everyone got more than their fair share of the dish. Same with the thinly sliced marinated beef shank. Normally similar dish would be served with some kind of sauce on the side but this one need no additional seasonings. The marinate was well-infused into the tender meat giving it good flavors.

My opinion on the roast meat platter - which came next - was a bit mixed. While I absolutely loved the perfectly-roasted, crispy suckling pig cracklings with a hint of charcoal smokiness, I thought the char siu (barbecued pork) was only okay and the roast goose pieces were a bit dry and too lean to my liking. Yes, I have been spoiled with excellent Chinese roast meats recently so I could be somewhat a snob these days.

Then we had a few hot dishes from the a la carte menu. I wish the sauteed fresh prawns - served on a bed of vermicelli, ginger and spring onions in a clay pot - had a bit more "wok hei", or cooked with a more fiercesome flame - but overall it was delicious, especially the vermicelli taking in all the umami flavors from that of the prawns. 

Poached chicken was another dish I like this evening. Half a chicken was deboned and poached under low temperature in oil and broth. Then it's cut into bite-sized pieces and dressed with a thickened gravy made with chicken broth on a deep dish. The meat was surprisingly moist and consistently cooked, and it went with the traditional grated ginger and spring onion oil. In hindsight we should have ordered a plate of egg noodles just to mob up the gravy with a balanced yet intense chicken flavor. That would have made my evening totally.

We opted for the simple braised "twin" vegetables with crab meat and ham. Somewhat similar to the chicken dish we had but with a lighter taste, the "twin" vegetables - broccoli and Shanghainese cabbage - were poached and served with a thick gravy of traditional superior broth. Then on top were a few crab claws (de-shelled, of course) and slices of Chinese ham. This is a classic, family-style Cantonese dish and they did this well.

Fried rice with cuttlefish and chicken in abalone sauce was another classic dish found in Cantonese restaurant and it came with substantial portion - each of us must have at least 2 bowlful. I wish they put more cuttlefish in but overall it's fine. The rice was moist but not soaky and the subtle hint of abalone in the sauce worked wonder.

The portion of the dishes was surprisingly generous - one pet peeve I had with many hotel Chinese restaurants in town was that they seem to have designed the menu based on 2-person servings rather than the normal size of four, but here the dishes could easily feed six.

We ran out of room for any substantial dessert dishes as we finished our bowls of fried rice, so we only ordered a small steam basket of the traditional sponge cake to share. It's served in individual portion like a cup cake, with lotus seed paste stuffed inside the soft, brownish cake and they were piping hot when they arrived at our table, which is always a plus. Overall it was delicious, except I could live with the cake steamed a little longer as I think it's a tad undercooked. Part of the cake was stuck with the wrapper which made it a bit awkward to eat and made a mess too.

Service was alright - at least the waitstaff was responsive if and when you managed to get hold of them, and they paced the meal fairly well with dishes came in sequence without a lot of waiting time in between. Unfortunately we caught the wrong end of the dining room the evening we were there - the table behind us was so loud and rowdy that we felt like sitting in a pub. You don't have to guess what language they were speaking and next time I probably would request not to be seated next to a big table. Other than that, the setting is decently comfortable, just as what you would expect from a restaurant at this location.

I think the restaurant and the meal was fine - not so much of a surprise factor but they delivered with solid execution of classic Cantonese cooking. It could be a bit uptight for a casual family dinner, but I reckon it's not bad a choice especially if you need to entertain out of town guests or clients for business.

When? August 18 2014
Where? Golden Leaf, Conrad Hong Kong, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Poached Chicken with Chicken Essence

1 comment :

Peech said...

always prefered Golden Leaf to Summer Palace nearby...