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While petite, Golden Leaf has the feel of a private club with its soaring ceilings, modern Chinese lanterns, latticework screens, and burnt orange, bronze and dark timber accents. Many of the tables are set up for smaller parties for 4 people or less, geared more towards C-level executive lunches and quiet hotel guest dinners rather than a team dim sum. That said, the private rooms can easily accommodate large extended families.
For lunch, we choose from both the dim sum and à la carte options, starting with siu mai and vegetarian dumplings. Both are of a decent standard, although for a hotel restaurant, we would have expected a neater presentation of the siu mai, which arrive on the table scattered in the steaming basket. A little more juiciness in these prawn and pork morsels would also have been preferred for a restaurant of this calibre.
The shallow-fried crispy chicken is not to be missed, with beautifully crisp, dark caramel skin and juicy, tender meat, and just the right amount of five-spice in the dipping salt – distinctive but not overpowering.
Out of the customary range of Cantonese barbecued meats, we select barbecued pork, which is incredibly tender, considering this piece is quite lean, with a delightful, sticky honey glaze.
Next, we move onto one of the restaurant’s signatures, single servings of steamed fresh crab claw topped with minced ginger and rice wine, sitting on an ethereal bed of steamed egg white. The crab is satisfyingly meaty, and the wine drizzled over the top elevates the freeflowing natural juices beautifully. We would have preferred the minced ginger to be slightly cooked to tame the sharp, spicy edge, but this is overall a very successful dish.
The stewed mixed vegetable rolls in oyster sauce turn out to be julienned carrots and spinach rolled in dried tofu skin. It is proficiently made, although the dish overall seems a little monotonous in flavour.
For dessert, we opt for the steamed brown sugar cake, a neat, delicate sponge. While the iconic beehive shaped air bubbles eludes us, it is light and airy
The hotel’s cellar is vast and impressive, with bottles from some of the world’s leading winemakers, both old world and new, at a price. Surprisingly there aren’t premium tea options.
During peak hour, it can be hard to catch a server’s attention, and it doesn’t seem uncommon to see a server tapping away on a mobile phone, which is rare for a hotel eatery. However, dishes arrive swiftly, the service is competent, and generally speaking, one can expect a meal here to progress smoothly.
A meal for two comes to around $1200, which is quite reasonable, especially for a hotel restaurant.