Golden Valley restaurant review – delicious Sichuan and Guangdong dishes in Wan Chai
A modernised interior that looks light, sleek and attractive is complimented perfectly by succulent regional dishes like sautéed green chillies in vinegar and fish head pan-fried in Shunde style
From the look of the lobby and the Chinese restaurant Golden Valley, the Emperor Hotel, which moved late last year from Happy Valley to Wan Chai, took the opportunity to modernise its appearance.
Gone are the restaurant’s dark, heavy wood accents and low ceiling; it’s now light, sleek and attractive, with sliding doors dividing the main area from several private dining rooms.
The restaurant still specialises in hotpot, although we didn’t see their excellent and extensive ingredients for the mix-your-own sauce. We decided to order cooked dishes, to see what the kitchen was capable of.
The menu lists both Sichuan and Guangdong dishes, and we ordered some from both parts of the menu.
Sautéed green chillies in vinegar (HK$68) were just fantastic. The mild chillies had been blistered in the pan, giving them a light smoky flavour, before being drizzled with chilli oil and black beans. It looked fiery, but was actually mild enough so the chilli-phobe in my group could eat it.
We also ordered a dumpling dish as a starter: wonton in garlic chilli sauce (HK$98). They were plump, with thin skins and lots of juicy filling.
The menu lists several fish head preparations, so we ordered it pan-fried in Shunde style (HK$198). This was one of our favourite dishes of the night. Served in a clay pot which retained the heat, the fish had a coating that was delicately crisp, and the bony pieces had lots of textures: tender flesh, jellylike collagen.
We pre-ordered the baked chicken with hua tiao wine (HK$280 for half, HK$560 for whole). The meat was tender and mild, with the subtle taste of the wine.
The only dish we disliked was steamed minced beef with tangerine peel (HK$188). The beef patty was too thin, the meat was minced too finely, and we thought we could detect tenderiser such as baking soda.
Wok-fried string beans with minced pork and chilli (HK$148) was a good version of the dish, with shrivelled string beans and plenty of flavour from the other ingredients.
From the list of autumn and winter dishes, we chose the fried glutinous rice with preserved meat (HK$238). It was served at about the same time as all the other dishes, even though, as a rice dish, it should have come last. It was cold by the time we were ready to eat it, so we asked for it to be reheated because cold glutinous rice is unappetising. It came back to us piping hot, and was delicious: the grains of rice were distinct, and flavoured with the rich fat from the Chinese sausage.
Service could be better. It took time to wave down the staff, and we had to ask for our plates to be changed so the sauces from the stronger flavours wouldn’t obliterate those from the more subtle dishes.
Golden Valley, 1/F, The Emperor Hotel, 373 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2961 3330. About HK$400 without drinks or the service charge
While you are in the area: