When I was ten years old, I decided to have my very own “cool girl” birthday party. I invited five of my closest friends over because instead of doing the massive birthday thing, I had dreams of a sophisticated birthday dinner of takeaways from our local Chinese restaurant. I was obsessed with the idea of China and the far East for some reason at the time.
It’s probably because I thought that Mulan was the ultimate girl power inspiration (she still is to be fair). I even remember being very excited in Florida at Disney’s Epcot, where I swooned over kimonos. I still haven’t actually been East yet, so I’m still relying on food to transport me to different parts of the world. Because isn’t that the best thing about food and culture? It brings people together from all around the globe.
So naturally, I couldn’t control my excitement when I heard about London’s very own Asian Food Hall that’s just opened up. Bang Bang Oriental hosts over 23 Asian restaurants under one roof, on the first floor you’ll find everything from dumplings to wontons, grilled skewers, Vietnamese coffees and of course ramen. And that’s barely scratching the surface on what they have upstairs.
Downstairs on the ground floor, you also have the option to feast from classic service at Golden Dragon’s flagship restaurant. The 300 cover restaurant features classic Hong Kong style décor and specialises in dim sum by day and Cantonese and Pekinese á la carte in the evening. And that’s where you found us on a cloudy London evening. Greeted warmly by the staff, we braced our stomachs for a night of delicious dishes.
The restaurant’s namesake carries throughout the decor, all yellow hues, shining gold doorframes. We didn’t happen to spot any dragons, but sadly, every day life isn’t an episode of Game Of Thrones. Sigh.
We sat down and promptly ordered a beer and a glass of Chardonnay before starting to look over the menu. It’s one of those extensive menus that reminds you of reading a novel. There’s endless choices, as well as photos to coincide with certain favourite dishes, which can be helpful for ordering. In fact, so helpful that we picked some of the dishes based on how amazing they looked in their photos.
You’ve got to order the Crispy aromatic duck pancakes. And I rarely ever order duck. It’s not something that I really crave or want to try, but for some reason, these were calling my name. We gobbled them up greedily. The pancakes were thin and savoury, matched well with the crispy duck and plum sauce.
Then move onto the chilli dumplings. I have to order dumplings whenever they’re available. And with the extra chilli spice, I knew these were the ones for us. For some reason, I’m all about the spice lately. I’ve even bought a chilli oil for our cupboard, which I’ve started using in everything.
And… Sesame prawn toast. I know, we’re radically adventurous with our choices. But, when you like something, it’s always good to try it everywhere you go. Right?
For once in our lives, I felt like we paced ourselves through the meal. We took a long time ordering our mains (through our own choice to eat slowly not that it was slow service. Actually, each time we placed our orders, food began to magically appear in front of us. It’s like they knew.)
It gave me a chance to wander around the restaurant.
Onto the Golden Dragon mains…
I swiftly chose the Szechuan Chilli Chicken, as it was one of my favourites from our local place where we went to university and I actually hadn’t had it since. It definitely lived up to the hype! The chicken was flavorful and had quite a kick to it, which is exactly what I’d wanted.
Joe picked the Crispy Shredded Beef with Chilli, because apparently chilli and heat became the ultimate theme of our dinner at the Golden Dragon. Um, but we also picked this because it really looked like Cheetos on the menu photo. Fun fact, it did not taste like Cheetos. But the flavours surprised me, I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. I’m mostly a fish, chicken and veg kinda gal so for me to end up being the one eating most of this was surprising. I like when dishes surprise me and I can’t seem to stop eating them. That’s always a win.
Of course, we ordered a side of Egg Fried Rice.
We were too full after all of this to even think about dessert. OK, so we thought about it. But really, I couldn’t have.
I think the more I get into doing food reviews, the more restrictive I need to start being in terms of what we’re ordering. Because we indulged in the starters, we skipped on dessert. I feel it’s a more accurate depiction of what our experiences are like, rather than always going “all-out can’t possibly get out of our chairs kind of full”.
Our overall experience at Golden Dragon restaurant was really positive, the staff were friendly and knowledgable, the food service is speedy, plus the dishes are flavourful and well priced. As it’s Golden Dragon’s flagship site, it’s understandably fairly spacious with over 300 covers. We went along on a Monday, and I was shocked at how full it was given that it’s a little trickier to get to. But hey, North London’s Colindale residents are in for a real treat now that Bang Bang Oriental and Golden Dragon restaurant are officially open.
I’m confident that I’ll be back because those crispy duck pancakes are still calling my name.