I have never been a fan of Chinese restaurant in London, bad experiences in the past have reduced my faith in ever finding a good one around. That is until I discovered the Gold Mine. This unassuming restaurant that situated in Bayswater is a revelation indeed. First time I came across the name was on the twittersphere and a picture of the steamed egg lured me into almost licking the screen. If it looked that good on photo...now that's something I want to get me teeth into.
And so nine of us invaded this restaurant on this lovely weekday evening for a spot of dinner. The order were quickly placed and then the anticipation began. The surrounding and ambience were plain and uninspiring, although it did exudes a certain authenticity of a typical eateries in Malaysia and Singapore. Even the staff looked strangely familiar, with their ubiquitous white shirt, dickie bow-tie and black waistcoat.
We were presented with a bowl of winter melon and pork ribs soup - typical start of any self-respecting Cantonese restaurant. But what followed was the main reason why this restaurant have been rave about amongst the in-the-know - the famous roast duck. A plateful of glossy lacquered bird laid before us, drenched in this gloriously thick and rich sauce. It was absolutely delicious, the thin layer of fat gave the duck a beautiful flavour and it was juicy and tender and faintly aromatic from all the spices that were infused into the duck. Even the accompanying chilli sauce were an absolute delight.
The stir-fried pea shoots with garlic were decent enough but nothing to rave about. Same goes for the deep-fried fish fillet with sweet and sour sauce.
The roast pork had a set of good cracklings and a perfectly balanced layer of fat and with the sweet sauce it was nice little delectable treat. Along with the roast duck, this ranked high on the taste-o-meter on the night.
The steamed eggs with dried scallops and diced prawns were amazing. It tasted every bits as good as it looked. It was smooth and silky, not an easy feat, and only with the right skills can these be achieved so top marks to the chef indeed!
The two claypot dishes - Braised aubergine with minced pork and the Double cooked belly pork with yam were very moreish. Both have excellent flavours and the sauce made for great pairing with steamed rice or as my nan would put it, 'cha fan'. I especially like the double cooked pork, using only the fattest pork belly assured superb tenderness and the yam integrated into the braising sauce, yielding a thick. rich and divine sauce. M, usually not a pork fan, especially fatty cuts, lap it up without any hesitation so that was a sure sign of approval.
Another highlight was the stir-fried frog legs Kung Pao style. Sticky, sweet and spicy just as it should be and the little legs were tender to the bite.
As for the pudding, in true Chinese style, not a lot of choices but the sweet red beans pastry pancakes were rather tasty. Crispy on the outside with a thick layer of filling within the ultra-thin flaky pancakes. But the garnish of parsley did raised a bit of eyebrow (Is this a savoury dish? How odd!)
And the final verdict - This is, by far, one of the better Chinese restaurant I have ever been to in London. There were enough highlights and gems on the night to lure me back into this little joint again. But as a general tips for Chinese dining, always drag your friends along and the more the merrier. This way you get to enjoy lots more dishes in true Chinese style. And the damaged? All these for less that £20 per head including tips. Such bargain for such good food!