Gold Mine has a reputation for duck, specifically Cantonese-style roasted duck. I've heard myths of Singaporean students buying them ready vac-packed and flying them back to Singapore with them for their families. You can reserve tables, and we went en masse for a Chinese New Year dinner. It's not big inside and they pack you in, but the staff were friendly and welcoming.
Roast duck comes in various portion sizes, either on the bone or off. I was worried that I'd built this duck up in my head quite substantially; I'd spent a long afternoon thinking about that laquered skin and glistening fat (it was a small lunch day...). I needn't have worried as it was pretty much glorious. 10 pairs of chopsticks came flying in as we tried to stay polite but really, we (I) failed. I preferred meat on the bone - there's just something about chewing around little bones that I enjoy, and it seemed slightly more succulent. The main competitor on the roast duck front is Four Seasons, but having tried that a few days ago I preferred Gold Mine's; the sauce drizzled over it was more savoury, Four Seasons' more sweet, and the meat less flabby than Four Seasons' version.
Steamed egg with century egg and salted egg yolks was eggy heaven. Steamed until it is just set like a custard, this savoury dish is delicately flavoured. Each wobbly spoonful I had a little century egg or salted egg yolk hidden within it, and eaten with some steamed rice, it was comforting and creamy. They also do a prawn and scallop version which I'm keen to try.
Siu yuk (crispy belly pork) was decent, though overshadowed by the duck that had arrived at the same time. Golden sand prawns disappeared in the blink of an eye; the prawns are coated in a salted egg yolk batter and fried, then mixed with chilli and garlic. I'd order a double portion next time. Aubergines with minced pork claypot was strangely flavourless and largely unremarkable, but the Japanese tofu with minced pork (pictured above) was another story. Discs of this soft tofu were fried so that they had a crisp outer coating, and then braised with the pork.
Most of the table weren't keen on the pork spare ribs with bitter melon, which I sort of suspected might happen when I ordered it. Bitter melon is properly bitter, which I like but I've not found many who agree with me. Pea shoots fried with garlic made up the vegetal component, and although cooked a little past the point I'd have liked, they were tasty and fresh enough.
Desserts were classic Cantonese restaurant style; banana and apple fritters I gave a wide berth and instead concentrated on a nice, grease-free fried red bean pancake, bafflingly garnished with parsley.
For roughly £25 a head with beers and service, it was no Michelin-angling HKK, but decent Cantonese food done well. Probably the best roast duck I've had in London too, though I haven't yet done a duck tour. My arteries wouldn't approve.
London W2 3RR
Tel: 020 7792 8331