Goldmine: something unexpected and that chilli sauce

The spread at Goldmine

Rows of burnished ducks, bright red racks of pork and squid the colour of saffron swinging on hooks. That’s what I think about when I think about Cantonese food. Barbecued meats layered on mounds of steaming rice, choi sum and the sharp tangy reek of Anglo Chinese sweet and sour pork.

All of which is, of course, a very Anglocentric view. I should perhaps cast my mind’s eye further east Gunagzhou or Hong Kong’s spectacular dim sum and seafood. But somehow “Canton” has become associated with British Chinese food, rather than that of SW China.

Roast duck at Goldmine
The moist and toothsome duck

And so Goldmine was something of a revelation. Sure there was the famous duck and some superb pork belly. But these bore as much resemblance to the duck and pork of my memories as Tesco dim sum do to Din Tai Fung’s Xiao Long Bao.

The pork came as rough cubes of layered meat and luscious fat topped with wafer thin uber-crunchy crackling. We had two plates, one that had been fried as well as roasted. That last deep fried wonder was dirty food of the highest caliber, it was rich and intense. I could only eat a couple of pieces. Good thing too considering how much food there was. Duck was moist, unctuous and toothsome on its bone. But, while very good good, these were the expected dishes.

Pork belly at Goldmin
Luscious cubes of pork belly

What came next was totally different and the highlight of the meal. A steamed shrimp and soy custard that had the Cantonese speakers among us exclaiming in joy. Apparently this was proper home-style food I kept expecting a sweet flavour, but instead every mouthful was smoothly eggy with a salty soy tang and came studded with small prawns.

We also had aubergine, and some salted egg and greens. The first was oily and morish, as Chinese aubergine so often is. The dark brown salted egg, while sounding and looking aggressive, was actually subtle and creamy to taste, and complemented simple steamed greens.

Chilli oil at Goldmine
Chilli oil

There was more, far more, but none of this was the real reason for coming. What we were after was Goldmine’s fabled chilli oil. It lived up to expectation, not uber hot, but packed full of umami punch. Along with the chilli (that tasted like it may have been roasted) there was dried shrimp and other exciting – and unidentifiable – additions. It heightened the flavour of everything.

The meal was a joy, full of unexpected, simple and delicious dishes. Lots of new of textures as well as flavours, and gently tasty as opposed to the DEFCON 5 approach of many Sichuan and Hunanese joints. It’s somewhere to go with a group because these dishes ain’t small, and you’ll want a decent spread of food to try.

Goldmine, 102 Queensway, London, W2 3RR, Tel: 020 7792 8331

<i>Edited to clarify what dish I though was deliciously dirty – 20/03/2012 – 13:55</i>

10 Responses to “Goldmine: something unexpected and that chilli sauce”

  1. Lizzie

    I love Cantonese steamed egg custards, they’re so good. I must try this place out.

    And why the roasted meats deemed ‘dirty’? Far from it! (I now have a mad pork hunger.)

  2. The Grubworm

    @Lizzie – dirty was not meant in a perjorative sense, it was just that deep frying something as fatty as roast pork belly was, well, dirty. But in a delicious way. In the same way a great burger or something else fatty, bad for you, deep fried but still wonderful to eat is dirty.

    Glad to hear I am stoking a hunger ;)

  3. Mr Noodles

    As one of the Canto-speakers at the table, I can vouch for the rather brilliant steamed egg dish – a true home-style Cantonese classic. And in general, Gold Mine is a great spot for homely, unpretentious Cantonese food.

    PS: And then there’s also the chilli oil!

  4. Susan

    I used to live right by Goldmine and only ever went for the roast duck (which comes closest to approximating my favourite roast duck, in Seattle). I will have to return if only to try the chili oil. Love all chili sauces.

  5. J@feasttotheworld

    Reading this is making me very hungry indeed…the pictures too. I love steam egg custard, use to have it when I was young. Very tricky to get it right as the eggs has to be mix with the right amount of water/stock and must be steam on a rack over gentle simmering water to cook it. Over cooking it will produce a dry and tough custard. That does look very nice and cottony indeed.

    How was the sweet and sour pork? So far I have yet been to a restaurant that serve a good version of this, so if it’s good, will definitely be going to Goldmine to give it a try.

  6. Going With My Gut

    Goldmine nerd alert (aka me):

    To help out if any of you out there want to go (or go back) and order.

    The dirty fried-roast pork belly is called Ah-Ma chow siew yoke (Grandma’s fried roast pork belly).

    The custard is called steamed egg with seafood.

    I think the dark brown salted egg you referred to might be century egg? The dish it was in is called spinach in broth, with 3 kinds of egg (regular egg, salted egg and century egg)



  7. Hungry Female

    That steamed egg was very good, not an easy dish to get right! LOVED the sweet, dark soy pork belly we had too!

  8. The Grubworm

    @Mr Noodles – it was a real eye opener in terms of Cantonese food for me. One I think I shall return to.

    @Susan – you have to try the chilli oil for sure, it is really very good indeed. And I believe you can get it to take away too…

    @J – the steamed custard did have the deceptively simple feel of something that is probably very hard to get right.

    I’m afraid we did not try the sweet and sour, although the table next to us did, and it smelled, well, like all the sweet and sour I have ever smelled. I’m not sure it would have been as good as anything we ate ;)

    @Going with my gut – thanks for the names, I’ll find those useful when I head back that way. Damn though, Grandma does fry some ace roast pork ;)

    Thanks for the egg-notice. It almost certainly was century egg, but I only got that there was salted egg in the dish, hence my confusion (still new to most of these dishes). It was a fine dish.

    @Hungry Female – it was all pretty damn tasty, no? I’m still thinking about it. And it’s making my hungry…

  9. shuhan

    that looks pretty brilliant, because back home this would be the norm dishes that my family orders at a tze char stall (tze char means “cooked food”). they’re kind of like restaurants, but more casual and with the same range of chinese wok/steamed favourites!

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