I love finding new restaurants, especially ones that are close to home. Recently my good friend Winnie took a few of us out for dinner at a restaurant that was deemed ‘her favourite Cantonese restaurant’ and she said it was in Mount Waverley. My head immediately started to dig through all the Cantonese restaurants I know and I admit, there wasn’t many that I could come up with in the area. I eliminated essentially all of them because I didn’t think they were good enough to be her favourite and so I was baffled. Where could it be that’s virtually on my doorstep that I didn’t know about? It was convenient that she couldn’t remember what the name of the restaurant was until a few hours before the meal.
It turned out that it was a small place called Golden Ocean, literally a stones throw away from Mount Waverley Station. It has apparently been in business for a long time so I was very surprised at how little online presence it had. If this restaurant was in the city, people would be all over it by now. WIth no reviews and hardly any votes, I wasn’t expecting too much when I walked in. Boy was I surprised.
When all the guests arrived, we were served with the usual free soup. Golden Ocean’s version was very clean on the palate and came with big pieces of chunky meat which is often not the case at other Cantonese restaurants. The bowl had a lot more soup mind you, I just only managed to take the photo after al the soups were served.
When I think of Cantonese, or most Chinese food actually, I usually think of oily and salty dishes that were chucked together clumsily. Golden Dragon gave me a completely different feel. The dishes were light, fresh and really not oily at all. Even the roasts! Winnie ordered a roast duck mixed with roast pork as a starter and the dish disappeared instantly. The crackling on the roast pork was fantastic, the skin on the roast duck was crunchy and not oily and both meats were well seasoned. What more can I say? Of course you can get better roast duck at specialty stores, but for a Cantonese restaurant standard, this was quite good.
The duck came with a sweet plum sauce like usual, but this sauce I felt was not too sweet like the others and went perfectly with the duck. The chilly sauce was also fantastic and I added this to some of the other dishes to give it extra flavour and punch.
I’m quite used to having crabs with noodles as part of Cantonese restaurant meals, so much so that frankly I’m quite sick of it. So when Winnie ordered prawns with noodles instead, I was happy. The dish was individually plated and brought out which was very nice and the prawn was so big! I’m a notoriously slow eater (for those of you who have dined with me I’m sorry) and no surprise everyone at the table had to wait for me to finish my dish. It was so delicious, I was just savouring the taste, not because I’m slow of course!
Next on the table was a whole deep fried sweet and sour fish cooked completely differently to what I was used to. Usually the sauce is poured straight on top, making the fish sticky and soggy. Golden Ocean had made their fish with salt and pepper taste with the sweet and sour sauce on the side. So essentially you can enjoy this fish with 2 different flavours. This also kept the fish from being soggy. Why doesn’t more restaurants do this?
The sauce itself wasn’t overly sweet which is perfect for me, since I don’t usually like sweet and sour sauces that much.
The beef stir fry was well seasoned and the beef was quite tender. It’s a typical dish to order at Cantonese restaurants and this was probably one of the better versions I’ve had.
The meal wouldn’t have been complete without veggies and Winnie had ordered spinach with pork mince and egg. It was a very clean and refreshing dish, although I did think it needed a tiny bit more salt. It was very good when I added a bit of the chilli sauce to it.
To finish off a fantastic night, we were given fresh fruit and a soupy dessert. These usually come free at most Cantonese restaurants. This soup was creamy and sweet with water chestnuts and egg. I thought it was a lot nicer than the red bean ones that are so common at other restaurants.
Winnie’s family has been patrons at Golden Ocean for a long time so got to know the chef and owner quite well. I’m not sure if this was the reason for the unbelievable service and warmth we received but I was sure set on visiting this restaurant again. For a Friday evening, I was surprised the restaurant only had 2 tables of patrons and a few takeaways, so foodies out there, we need to give this place some love!
As I didn’t pay for the meal, I didn’t get a chance to grab the prices for these dishes, but I’m quite sure the prices are reasonable.
Golden Ocean BBQ Chinese Restaurant
Phone: (03) 9807 0555
7 Hamilton Place, Mount Waverley VIC 3149