Golden Dragon, Colindale 16/20

DETAILS of the full massacre of the restaurant business in central London has not percolated as yet into the chitter chatter of most social media. But there is pushback around the M25. Maroush, so long the go-to Lebanese outlet on Edgware Road has opened down the M40 at Park Royal. Etles popular Uyghur restaurant by Walthamstow station has re-opened its original branch on Finchely Road – very superior noodles – Goa’s inspired son Cyrus Todiwalla has left Tower Bridge for Buckhurst Hill.

And here Soho’s Golden Dragon has reincarnated a new version at Colindale at the Bang Bang food complex which also includes a Loon Fung supermarket and street stalls upstairs.

Followers of this blog will know that I have defended the excellence of the GD against most Chinatown competition but here it is blossoming. It is 12.20 pm and we get the last table. By the time we leave the queue is out onto the street. It is a big room that someone probably once thought might be a car showroom but now it is all lanterns, dragons, hanging ducks and lazy suans and its mobbed by families, mostly Asian in all senses. There is no booking at the weekend, because they know they will get the numbers, but you can book in the week when things are calmer, but not necessarily better. This is a big restaurant that hums and brims with customers and is on peak form at the weekend. Mainly for dim but people stray beyond the dumplings and it is even possible to have takeaway. It is a very happily grounded major Chinese.

It is the same grand menu as in Soho covering everything from lobster – in a tank in the window – to hotpots, well just about everything you had in mind, all 363 things you associate with Cantonese cooking. The full repertoire. The wun tun soup is exemplary, very plain and invalid-like but the broth has verve and the dumplings are silky. A couple of visual details: the broccoli taste of garlic and ginger.

Glutinous rice wrapped in a lotus leaf is accurately cooked, the grains separating.

Dumplings are still steaming fom the kitchen – no trolley here – It is a wow. 16 going on 17/20 at weekends. Large scale European restaurants never get this sense of ignition. My partner mentioned the Cantonese restaurant on the flight side at Singapore airport we once visited, which has Michelin star. This is more ambitious and more wonderful and it is not an airport.  Lunch for two was £36 including service.


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