Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gold Leaf, Burwood East by Benny

This is a biased review. It can’t be anything but biased. Consider the evidence: In the six or so weeks prior to the dining experience that lead to this review I have indulged in the yum cha at this restaurant no less than three other times – twice with family and once with friends, and it was at my recommendation that the Eat and Be Merry Crew visited here for the yum cha. So I'm clearly enamoured of Gold Leaf and readers of this review are warned.

Gold Leaf at East Burwood is one of a chain of restaurants around Melbourne, several of which the Eat and Be Merry Crew have individually sampled and come away reasonably happy. From the outside, Gold Leaf is a standard eastern suburbs Chinese restaurant that, if anything, looks a little tired, having housed a Chinese restaurant business for many years – it was previously the Shark Fin Burwood. Inside is impossible to distinguish from many other suburban Chinese restaurants – until the food arrives…

The dishes are just that little bit better, the servings a little bit bigger, and the range a little bit broader. My better half and I are especially fond of the seafood dumpling – picture a standard rice bowl filled with a sharkfin soup-like broth containing a single large fine-skinned dumpling which when split open releases a cloud of luxurious marine delights.

Likewise, the mango sago soup is a wonderful way to finish off, although Ruby Grapefruit felt that while good, it was just a touch too sweet.

Spicy whitebait

Other highlights noted by the Eat and Be Merry Crew included the spicy whitebait, squid salad, chicken feet (the largest that Big Fil has ever seen), salt and pepper squid, and tripe.

Braised blackbean and chilli chicken feet

There are some criticisms – a couple of the dumplings had wrappers that were a little pasty and the execution more generally was not as delicate as some have experienced elsewhere, but overall these could not detract from a very satisfying yum cha experience.

Beef tripe
Service was good – no major gaps between food, although occasionally the trolleys arrived in waves and some tempting morsels were allowed to pass as the table was already full. The pots of tea were kept topped up and the clearing of the debris was performed discretely and with no fuss.

The only jarring note was as we left – two female members of the Eat and Be Merry Crew sought out the ladies restroom but came back more quickly than expected because the facilities weren't clean. I hope that this was an aberration, and certainly the previous experience of female dining companions suggests that it was.

Food – 8
Ambiance – 7
Service – 7.5
Price – 7.5

Gold Leaf
155 Burwood Hwy
Burwood East VIC 3151
Tel: (03) 9802 3788

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