Sunday, January 17, 2010

Golden Dragon Palace

I think Melbourne has its fair share of suburban Chinese restaurants. In fact, I think Melbourne has a RIDICULOUS number of Chinese restaurants that barely pass for mediocre. But, there are gems to be found if you look hard enough. Living so far from the city center, we've had to adopt another suburb's wares as our local.

Naturally, like everyone else, we've decided that the Doncaster/Box Hill area is where we would go for all things asian - which includes groceries, even though Box Hill is a freaken 30 minute drive - I once had to drive all the way there to get glutinous rice flour because these so called "supermarkets" are not quite the market they claim, and they are most definitely not super!

Anyway, I digress with my random ranting. Last night we went to the Golden Dragon Palace in Lower Templestowe. From the outside, its location is very understated and what lies beneath the facade would surprise many. Nestled amongst a McDonalds and Red Rooster, from the outside the restaurant has all the hallmarks of a really bad suburban restaurant that you would take the relatives you would like to spite.

Golden Dragon Palace is not that type of place. You would not take your relatives to spite them, this is one of those restaurants that you take to make sure you don't get cut off from the family - the asian way which is absolutely riddled with passive aggression.
Once entered, the decor gives the place the feel of an occasion restaurant. Parquetry floorboards, wood carvings, chinese vases dimmed lighting, and even a pianist to really echoe their intent. For ambience, it is probably one of the nicer chinese restuarants I have been to. However, after visiting this place half a dozen times, it does lose some of its sheen, and like all shiny things, you need to remember how shiny it first seemed.

The food and service better than suburban restaurants, but the service could be a bit more schmick to match the decor which would in my opinion move it towards what it is obviously trying to achieve. We were told they didn't have baby abalone so we were offered oysters, which they apparently didn't have either. However, the banquet was pleasant, with features of peking duck, crayfish, steamed fish (barramundi, however, if you have not had steamed fish with soy and ginger, I would recommend Coral Trout as the meat is far superior than barramundi), salted egg yolk coated prawns, scallops two ways, chicken (drunken), hot pot, greens (snow pea shoots), very much standard fare. No revelations to be found here.

I was SO disappointed that I forgot to order sweet and sour anything. Because, yes I will admit it, I am one of those people that eats sweet and sour. I am NOT ashamed of it even though everyone else thinks I should hide this secret obsession. Along with Peking duck, are perhaps the only reason I really go out to chinese so much.

Like almost all Chinese restaurants, you finish with fresh fruit and a sweet soup and red bean pancakes. More effort definitely went into the fresh fruit platter than other places (+1 point), and the red bean pancake was pretty good (+1 point).

Overall, Golden Dragon Palace is your better than average Chinese restaurant with accents of decent service, ambience and food. A real pianist plays in the background giving the place a better feel than most.Golden Dragon Palace is a good interlude if you get sick of your own cooking.


Golden Dragon Palace, 363 Manningham Road, Lower Templestowe

Where Else?
Tai Pan, , Doncaster
Canton Lake, Station Street, Box Hill (This restaurant looks like you are visiting the slums of China...but it is probably one of the few places where I WANT to go because the food is that good).

Golden Dragon Palace on Urbanspoon


ebr999 said...

Damn your blog, now I'm hungry and I just had breakfast.

When are you going to reveiw a vegetarian restaurant? You heard me!?!?

Anonymous said...

Have a go for taotao, another new star for yumcha place. :)