Sunday, 3 January 2010
Gold Mine, 102 Queensway, London, W2 3RR, Bayswater
We used to love the roast duck from Four Seasons, at Bayswater. Recently though, the roast duck hasn’t been that great, with soft chewy skin instead of a crispy, sweet skin with a slightly BBQ-ed taste. The quality of the meat also doesn’t seem as good as it previously was.
Then, a few of our friends told us to try out Gold Mine which is a few doors down from Four Seasons. Having peered in a few times, not seeing too many customers, we were slightly hesitant to try it out, but when more and more friends began to say that they were gonna have a go, we said why not.
On first impressions, the interior of Gold Mine is almost similar to that of Four Seasons, in that it’s not quite an upmarket Chinese restaurant, but not quite a cafe-style one either. It’s kinda in between, though the waiting staff at Gold Mine are almost on-another-scale-level friendlier than the ones at Four Seasons.
Space-wise, if you found Four Seasons a tad tight, you won’t find much more space in here either.
The menu is similar, which doesn’t say much as most of the menus from the restaurants down this stretch of street are almost exactly the same. We ordered the usual stuff that we usually order at most Chinese restaurants, first of all to ensure that we’re comparing like for like, but mostly because we know what we like and we just couldn’t be bothered to try out anything new.
So, the reason for coming here.
Roast duck, £19 for a whole duck
‘Want it de-boned?’ asks the waitress.
‘No, thanks’ we reply, almost incredulous that someone could actually contemplate deboning a roast duck. I mean, isn’t that the best bit, where you get to nibble at the bits of sweet meat by the bones?
So, how was this compared to the one at Four Seasons? Well, if I was comparing it to the Four Seasons from before (perhaps more than 12 months ago), it was similar, both were just as nice. If I were to compare it to the Four Seasons that we’ve had recently, I’d say Gold Mine wins, without a duck, I mean, doubt.
The skin here is crispy, it’s sweet with the marinade and the sauce, and the sauce is amazingly tasty. Our duck was meaty, so much so that the five of us couldn’t finish one duck (leftovers, come on over).
Braised aubergine with minced pork in hotpot £8.50
This is another dish that we order when we’re at Chinese restaurants. The one here was average, not better but also not worse than others we’ve tried. Aubergine was braised really well, resulting in soft, gooey pieces of aubergine with a comforting, meaty sauce.
Deep fried chilli and salt squid £8.50
Being a connoisseur in deep fried squid, I know a good squid when I see one. I love squid in all forms, mainly in the sushi form, but when pushed, I don’t mind it deep fried, baked, friend, sautéed, stir-fried, boiled, steamed, stewed, raw, whatever.
The batter here was slightly thicker than usual, resulting in a powdery texture to the squid. Squid was cut perfectly to size, just thick enough not to be chewy, but thick enough to be just chewy, if you get what I mean. Probably not, but hey.
Stir-fried kangkung in belacan £8
Known as morning glory, this is a leafy vegetable with a tubular hollow stalk. I used to be under the impression that this was typically a Malaysian dish, but recently, I’ve been seeing this featured more and more on the menus in London restaurants, so either it has increased in popularity here, or it’s always been available but I’ve only just begun to take notice of it here.
The version here was perhaps one of the nicest I’ve had in London. Just salty enough, with a delicate fishy taste from the fermented prawn paste, and with just enough sweetness to balance out the vegetable, which doesn’t taste of anything on its own.
Would I recommend this restaurant? I would, and we’ll be going here now instead of the previous favourite a few doors down, just because the food is as good, if not better, the waiting staff are friendlier, and you don’t have to wait half an hour or more for a table.
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