Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Gold Leaf, Docklands by Foghorn Leghorn

There are five Gold Leaf restaurants dotted around Melbourne, and I’ve had a few discussions about which is the best for yum cha. Recently people mentioned Docklands in favourable terms, so Mrs Shiraz and I decided to give it a go.

Gold Leaf, Docklands, fried taro dumplings
Deep fried taro dumplings

Our reliable restaurant companions, Knuckles and Shazza, cycled over from Footscray to join us. Once upon a time, if you saw someone from Footscray on a pushbike, you could guess that they’d had stern words from the magistrate about what would happen the next time they were caught driving. But Knuckles and Shazza have genuine licences (ie not the sort that a friend has run through the laminating machine at the job training centre), and they still choose to cycle. That’s gentrification for you.

Gold Leaf, Docklands, prawn and scallop dumplings
Prawn and scallop dumplings

First impressions of the restaurant were mixed. On the one hand, half of the room has good natural light, a bonus in most yum cha restaurants. On the other hand, we had booked a table, and they gave us one of the worst. Note to self: in a small group, never book a table in a high-turnover yum cha restaurant. You can always wait a few minutes at the door until a good table is free.

Gold Leaf, Docklands, fried turnip cake
Fried turnip cake

Gold Leaf, Docklands, tripe
Beef tripe

So, on to the food. It arrived regularly and reliably. That’s important in a yum cha restaurant, and it’s by no means a given. I’ve been to other places where they’ve crammed in more people than the kitchen can handle, so the hungry customers lurk by the trolley entrance, waiting to snatch anything decent that emerges. That is not the case at Gold Leaf Docklands.

Gold Leaf, Docklands, rice noodles with beef
The quality, however, was mixed. Rice noodles with beef (a Shazza favourite) were judged very good.

Gold Leaf, Docklands, prawn dumplings
Prawn dumplings

Gold Leaf, Docklands, prawn with chives dumplings
Prawn with chives dumplings

Prawn dumplings and prawn with chives dumplings were also excellent.

Gold Leaf, Docklands, bean curd rolls
Other dishes were below par, with some of the steamed dumplings overcooked to the point of falling apart. There was sloppy presentation, with the bean curd rolls, for example, swimming in a pool of semi-congealed sauce.

Gold Leaf, Docklands, prawn with ginger and shallot dumplings
The (fried and steamed) prawn dumplings with ginger and shallot had almost no ginger or shallot. The overall impression was that the kitchen doesn’t really care if some of the food turns out OK, and some of it doesn’t.

Gold Leaf, Docklands, prawn with spinach dumplings
Prawn and spinach dumplings

Service was also mixed. Some of the waiters were on the ball (one of them replaced a wine glass without even being asked, because it didn’t come up to his cleanliness standards), but some of the trolley girls were just phoning it in. They had a tendency to clump together in the corner to gossip with each other, not noticing that the customers would like to see the contents of their trolley.

Gold Leaf, Docklands
Knuckles and Shazza appreciate better-than-average wine, so whenever we eat out with them we BYO. This time around it cost us $8 per glass, which is not cheap.

All up, the yum cha cost us $40 per person. That’s quite normal these days, but for that price I would usually expect better quality.

The location is a big minus or a bit plus, depending on how you look at it. Docklands was designed by architects who evidently hate trees and love concrete. What’s more, Gold Leaf is tucked away in a far corner, a long way from the train station and most tram lines, so you take in lots of concrete before you get to the front door. On the other hand, as pointed out in a previous review, Gold Leaf is convenient if you arrive by car to shop at Costco. After eating you can go on the big Ferris wheel, where you get a great view of the Costco roof. And if you’re a cyclist, the restaurant is close to the bike-paths along Footscray Road and Moonee Ponds Creek.


We liked it
We liked it.
Cheap eats
Cheap eats.


Overall, then, Gold Leaf Docklands is a reasonable option if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, but it’s not the best Gold Leaf.

Find it at

Gold Leaf
Level 1, Star Circus Harbour Town
Docklands 3008
Telephone: 9670 1128

Gold Leaf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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