Friday, 1 March 2013

Gold Leaf (Preston) Restaurant

419, High Street, First Floor, Preston, VIC 3072

Gold Leaf on Urbanspoon

While Gold Leaf Docklands has a pristine setting, the branch in Preston is defined by its spinning chandeliers and bustling service. It is typical of a Hong Kong Restaurant and what it does well is yumcha. This place is usually busy and if you are going for the 1pm session over the weekend, it's best to book in advance especially if you have a large group.

In the evening, it's like any Cantonese Restaurant that serves up the usual reliable mix of authentic and westernised Cantonese offerings.

The Place
Bright space with spinning chandeliers - yes. It's a traditionally 'decorated' Chinese restaurant with all the usual gaudy contraptions and wall hangings. There is the possibility of a private dining room in the mezzanine if you have a special function. Getting in and out of the restaurant is frankly a bit of a fire hazard when you consider the queues that this place has sometimes.

Thing to do nearby: Preston shops and Preston market on Saturdays!

The Food

Century Egg and Roast Pork Congee, and cup of Chrysanthemum Tea

This place serves the usual yumcha fare. I have said this before and will not hesitate to say it again and again - I believe it is fair to say that full vegetarians will struggle at this place (and most yumcha places) while vegequarians who don't mind seafood will do just fine. Much of the dimsum served here have some sort of meat. I can almost count the purely vegetarian offerings with my fingers (Mushrooms, Chinese Brocolli, Cha Leong (a doubly rice noodle with fried dough wrapped in rice noodle), Custard Bun, Seaweed Salad, Beancurd dessert, Green Tea Jelly, Balled Melons for dessert - ok that's it - I'm done)

Other than that, the full range of dimsums are on offer here, though one can order from the ala carte menu too. One word of warning - beware the Suckling pig - that small dish they offer you is going to cost you no less than $23 for a few pieces of meat.

The Service
Depending on what time you get there - this place can be frantic or the waitstaff could be standing there waiting for you to call out to them, as they wait for you to finish what you have in front of you. Fear not, the service here is better than many of the yumcha places in the city. They actually try to explain to you what's in each of the dumplings, so that even if you are a novice - you will at least know what's in the dumplings you are about to have. This is not hard as they speak Mandarin, Cantonese and English all relatively fluently.
This is a place I go to at least once a month because it's convenient, it's reliable and it's consistent. Their queue management is a problem from time to time simply because the crowd can outgrow the limited waiting space. So, it's always best to book.

Cultural Moment
Continuing from the previous Gold Leaf article where I introduced a range of dim sums - here are some more common dim sum you might enjoy (each will contain the Cantonese name / Mandarin Name / English Description);

Bean Curd Roll - I don't actually know how to call this in Cantonese or Mandarin - but it's really really good whatever you call it. Mostly sheets of beancure rolled together with some seafood and pork in the middle.

Hor Yip Fun / Her Yeh Faan / Lotus Leaf Glutinuous Rice - This herbal tasting steamed glutinuous rice with chicken, preserved shitake, salted egg, chinese sausage and minced meat, wrapped in lotus leaf. A meal on its own - perfect for sharing.

Lor Pak Gao / Luo Bo Gao / Radish Cake - ok Vegetarians (if you are still reading), don't get excited, this is NOT vegetarian as it contains bits of Chinese ham in it.

Wu Kok / Wu Jiao / Yam Dumplings - Minced meat wrapped in a savoury yam paste and quick deep fried. Really yummy if you like yam, has a light crusty outer layer, soft yam paste, and yummy chicken/pork mince in the middle.

Ham Sui Kok / Shiyan Shui Jiao/ Fried Salty Dumplings - Fried doughy sticky glutinuous dumplings with minced meat inside.

Pphai Kuat / Phai Gu / Pork Spare Ribs - Cooked in various different styles - some places might even have a few different offerings depending on whether you like the basic black bean variety, or a spicier version. Yummy but can be a bit greasy.

Ling Yong Bao / Lian Rong Bao / Custard Bun - this is more a dessert and the correct name should be lotus paste bun. However, some places actually do use custard instead of lotus paste. So, if you prefer one of the other - clarify before you order.

Char Siew Sou / Char Shao Su / BBQ Pork Puff - This is one of the things in the world that makes me happy (if it's done well). Here's a picture - simple isn't it? Tasty BBQ Pork, light buttery puff sweet pastry, sesame seeds and baked - it's not healthy but I don't care.

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