The first thing I noticed when I walked into this massive Chinese restaurant was the music. They were playing an electronic version of ‘Jingle Bells’. Never mind that Christmas is a distant memory, this is surprising because otherwise Golden Dragon seems pretty traditional. A Cantonese-style dining room on the ground floor of London’s largest Asian food hall Bang Bang Oriental, the look is all gold wallpaper, banqueting tables and shiny carpet. ‘Jingle Bells’ actually gives it all a characterful, slightly tacky edge. It makes it fun.
Things got less fun when the food arrived. The solo highlight was a dish of wasabi fungus – delicate slivers of black mushroom dressed with a wonderfully mustardy sauce. But the classics were bland: the pig in my barbecue pork was tough and kung po ‘spicy hot’ chicken was so bland I thought they’d got my order wrong (they hadn’t). Overall, this is at the standard of an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Definitely not worth travelling for. And for most Londoners, it’s quite a journey. This is Colindale – aka, very North indeed. The market upstairs was worth the trip, though, with more than 20 individual, super-cute kiosks hawking everything from bubble tea to fried intestine.
Also, let it be known: Golden Dragon was playing an electronic version of ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm (ee-i-ee-i-o)’ on my way out.