This late-night Cantonese stalwart is still the best catered after-party in Sydney
Picking up the giant menu book at Golden Century is like sitting down for story time, but the tale you’re about to embark on involves a lot of shellfish, eating all the fried things and having hazy recollections of thinking that second bottle of Hunter Valley chardonnay from Scarborough was a bonza idea.
You can’t call yourself a true Sydneysider unless you’ve had at least one post-rager dinner here ordering sticky, burgundy-hued barbecue pork, steamed prawn dumplings, fried spring rolls and salt and pepper squid. In fact, they’ll salt and pepper pretty much anything that stays still long enough, and while the tofu is good, the pork ribs are better. The extra flavoursome meat has for the most part been stripped off the bone then deep fried, the golden shell shown no mercy by the hand that seasons it, with extra garlic and fiery red chilli on top. You will reach for big gulps of Chinese tea between mouthfuls.
Even though they’re open until 4am, making them the beloved port of every hospo worker and gigging band in this city, at 6.30pm on a weeknight they’re just as popular, and the appeal isn’t the giant papier-mâché crab at the top of the escalators or the lady offering to take photos and print them on the spot like it’s still 2006.
It’s what’s in the tanks that counts, and it’s a collection of crazy fresh live seafood. Don’t even try pretending you’ll get out of here without an order of pippies in XO sauce. They show you your catch in a bag on its way to the kitchen and then mere moments later those little briny bivalves have burst open to luxuriate in the unctuous, savoury seafood sauce.
When you need to soak up some booze, stat, the only way to do it is with the classic Cantonese cooking that they’ve been perfecting here for over 27 years. And they even open on Christmas Day. That’s how legendary this place is.
|Venue name:||Golden Century||Contact:|
393-399 Sussex St
|Opening hours:||Mon - Sun 12 noon-4am|
Terrible food, worse customer service. There are some wonderful Chinese restaurants in Sydney. Don't waste your time with this one.
This must be the worst restaurant experience I have ever had. The food was terrible and we have never been treated so disgustingly in our lives.
Where do I start?
Our prawn crackers were stale. When we asked the waiter to replace them we were told to our disbelief, and with no apology, that all of their prawn crackers are stale so there is no point in replacing them.
No wine could not be tasted before being ordered. This policy (though strange) may have been understandable had the waiter not then poured some wine from the bottle we'd ordered into my wife's glass for her to taste. What could she say if she didn't like it? Pointless exercise.
These complaints pale in comparison though to the main dishes that were served up. Our pippies were served in a very gritty sauce and half were missing from their shells and nowhere to be found. When the waiter came to take away the serving plates (still mostly full of food) we told him we hadn't enjoy our meal and provided constructive criticism. To our disbelief, he just ignored us and took the plates away.
We repeated that we hadn't enjoyed the food again when the bill was brought to us and asked to speak to the manager. The manager told us we had finished all of the food so we must have been happy with it. At this point we wondered if we lived in a parallel universe where customer service doesn't exist.
We politely informed the manager that the food had been largely untouched but were told that there was cctv footage proving otherwise. When we requested the footage (yes, it really did get this far) he refused to produce it, then asked for security to surround our table so we couldn't leave.
This debate, which for us had become over principles not money, went on for over an hour and was very public and embarrassing. By the end of it the manager had changed his story to say that we hadn’t finished our food, but that must have been because we were full so it’s not his problem.
Reviews on here indicate that there is a recent history of providing sub standard food and lying. If the Golden Century once had standards then it clearly doesn't any more. Its arrogant treatment of customers is unacceptable and I suspect its ratings will fall dramatically.