This yum cha institution will make you feel nostalgic for Hong Kong, even if you’ve never been there
This Chinatown mainstay has been hopscotching around Sussex, Liverpool and George streets for 35 years, and she’s ageing well, with a look that nudges onto the right side of the nostalgic-kitschy divide. Reds and golds and dainty chandeliers spin a vague idea of mid-century Hong Kong glamour, while skylights and strategically placed mirrors make the dining room feel light and airy even when heaving with hundreds of people.
Marigold’s fame and central location gives it a broader clientele, which they accommodate – a bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce on every table, a polite announcement of trolley wares rather than a rapid bark, and better care of vegetarians. The veg cheong fun is packed with a forest of wood ear fungus, celery, water chestnut, corn, snow peas, carrot and cabbage, and the fried version is equally worth your time, tight little bundles dotted with scallions and crisped right on the trolley, arriving with a saucer of sweet peanut and hoisin for happy dipping.
The variable times between steamer and plate means that on this occasion, when har gow was picked up, much of its skin stayed behind, and some of the leaves in the Chinese broccoli were looking a little deciduous. All is forgiven when the basket of honeycomb tripe arrives, a superlative expression of this divisive offal dish (those that love it do so with force). It is thick cut and full-flavoured without the dreaded chewiness, each cell acting as a little pocket for its fragrant black bean, ginger, garlic and soy braising sauce.
Did you know that Marigold is open 365 days a year? They take a ‘ride or die’ approach to the hospitality business, feeding elderly Chinese on their way to mahjong, hungover Surry Hills yuppies and those for whom Christmas Day is just a weirdly quiet day to eat yum cha. And they’ve been doing it for decades. Luckily Sydneysiders are famous for their willingness to wait in line for a restaurant, which is what you’ll be doing at Marigold during brunching hours on a weekend.
Levels 4 & 5, 683–689 George St
|Opening hours:||Daily 10am-3pm, 5.30pm-11pm|