Golden Dragon (Taj).

Golden Dragon is the Taj’s completely redone Chinese restaurant. The ambience and decor is possibly the best in the city and the food is quite good. It makes for a great Chinese dining experience.

The Food

Whatever the decor, the food has to be good for a Chinese dining experience. Golden Dragon doesn’t disappoint. They have three Chinese chefs, but the food is well suited for the Sri Lankan palate. We started with a small prawn dim sum (Rs. 990) which, while not cheap, was excellent. It was a soft, tender surprise, just like dim sum should be. 


We actually went with a Chinese person and the way they eat is different. He actually called the chef out and spoke to him in Chinese to order, choosing belly pork (Rs. 860), and diced chicken (Rs. 760). I, being a Sri Lankan, couldn’t fathom a meal without rice and we ordered a bean sprout fried rice (Rs. 760).

The food was quite good. Not too oily, well seasoned and generous. While the dim sum was my favorite, the rice was perfectly done and the belly pork was not too fatty, not too lean, and artfully cooked.

The diced chicken came with a generous gravy. A bit sweet for my personal taste but it went well with rice.

We obviously tried just a selection of their menu, but we weren’t disappointed. My Chinese friend was a bit put off that they didn’t have a Chinese language menu (they said it’s coming) and we wouldn’t call the food here purely authentic. That said, who cares? The chef is from Sichuan but there’s a nice range of cuisines mixed in and it’s tasty.

In terms of price, we ended up paying Rs. 4,200 total for two. They have a set menu for Rs. 2,990 (non-veg) or Rs. 1,990 (veg) which includes a set of mains and choice of one dim-sum/starter or soup. A la carte, the mains are about Rs. 800 – 1,000 for a small (easily enough for two) and pushing Rs. 2,000/3,000 for the fancier stuff (scallops, Peking duck). We’d like to come back for the duck.

These prices aren’t cheap (at Min Han you can eat for Rs. 1,000 apiece) but you’re getting a MUCH nicer dining experience. For more posh restaurants these prices are normal, but you’re getting more value for money at Golden Dragon. 

The Location & Ambience

Ambience wise, this is the best Chinese restaurant in the city. Like YUMI (also in the Taj) what was once a depressing space has been completely redone. The first thing you notice are the extremely high ceilings and the generous tables.

There is a private room off to the side and four tables along the wall can be completely enclosed in curtains, making them private as well.

The main dining area is beautiful blues and golds and, with the high ceiling, the overall impression is quite impressive. Most Chinese restaurants are in repurposed houses, but this is a purpose-built dining space. In terms of ambience, the only competitor would be Tsing Tao, and that’s not as roomy.

For family or groups, this is a lovely place to dine. Note that the dress code is no shorts or slippers, but they’re not pushy about it. My companion was wearing shorts and slippers and they just gave him a sarong when he sat down.

Service

The reboot was just a few weeks ago so when we went it wasn’t busy at all. We always had competent attention from waiters and even ended up speaking with the chef and the Manager and the Food & Beverage Manager on our way out. The Chef seems to come out to personally talk to the Chinese speaking guests. 

At a place like this you can tell if the service is good if your green tea seems endless (i.e, they keep refilling it). We never had a dry cup. If you are eating Chinese or family style the whole serving you rice thing can feel unnecessary, but you can just tell them to stop. I personally don’t mind, but our Chinese friend preferred to serve himself.

Conclusion

Golden Dragon offers a great Chinese dining experience. We say experience because a lot of things come together here. The food is tasty, the ambience is the best in its category, and the staff is attentive. For Sri Lankans Chinese food is an experience, and at the high end we’d say Golden Dragon is one of the best.

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