15-16 Gerrard Street
London W1D 6JE
020 7494 1200
Our Maltese friend G organized a get together lunch after mass on Sunday. Since he has never tried Chinese dim sum before, we went to Golden Harvest restaurant in Chinatown, recommended by J who has been there several times. We were in a group of 8. Luckily for us the restaurant was quite empty when we arrived so we managed to get a table immediately without having made any reservations.
The restaurant lets in quite a bit of natural light which is very sensible, since it was such a lovely sunny afternoon. The interior is spacious and bright, which is very rare for restaurants in Chinatown. The tables were not packed closely together, and there is a comfortable walking space and sitting space between tables and people. Based on first impressions Golden Harvest definitely places far above the other restaurants found in Chinatown.
The dim sum menu has a wide selection of items. We had the usual char siew bao, har gao, siew mai, cheong fun which were alright. None of them were outstanding. Our char siew sou (BBQ pork pastry) was, however, slightly above average. The pastry was firm and the honey glaze on it was quite good. We also had the xiao long bao which was also above average. The skin of the xiao long bao wasn’t too thick like the ones we had in other places, and the broth was good as well. (It is probably quite apparent that we aren’t too excited about this restaurant from the lackluster writing – this will be clear why in a few paragraphs.)
They also had claypot rice selection in their dim sum menu, which was something different from the other restaurants around. We ordered the chicken feet with pork ribs in claypot rice as well as the chicken claypot rice. Both these were surprisingly flavourful. They were also decently sized, and probably one of the better dishes to order if you’re there.
The highlight of this restaurant has to be their selection of chicken feet dishes. Despite the unpopularity of chicken feet amongst the locals, Golden Harvest has several different styles and flavors of the dish available. We ordered 3 of them (excluding the one which came in the claypot) and kudos to G for trying all of them. The first one which came was boiled chicken feet, served cold. The skins of the feet were too tough, and they were very tasteless. The boneless chicken feet Thai style was far better. These were very tasty and probably the best of the 3 chicken feet dishes we ordered. This was also served cold. Our final chicken feet dish was commonly served steamed version, which was yummy and satisfying.
Overall, the food at Golden Harvest is nothing to rave about. The selection of dim sum is pretty good, and the quality is adequate. However, while dining in a restaurant that is not all. A key component of the experience is the service. The service in Golden Harvest is as bad as its peers in Chinatown, maybe even worse. The servers we had were very inexperienced and rude, and they managed to annoy every single one of us at the table. Along with G, there were 2 others with us who didn’t understand Mandarin or Cantonese, and they were very amused by our reactions when our servers made mistake after mistake. We also had to ask the waiter four times to check on our order, and it took them forever to deliver our egg tarts and chicken feet which were placed in our first order.
Overall, Golden Harvest has a lot of potential. They’ve got the exterior right: inviting and modern. They’ve got the interior right: bright, spacious and clean. They’ve also got the menu right: a good balance between traditional items and modern takes on traditional ingredients. However, the quality of their food has to improve desperately. Also, if it were up to me, all their current servers would be fired, and new, more competent ones employed and trained from scratch, probably by a different manager.