Goldleaf Restaurant was founded in 1971 by a group of Singaporean businessmen who wanted to preserve the taste of old-school, family style Chinese cuisine. Once upon a time was located along Orchard Road, has been Original tenant at Katong Square (Old Joo Chiat Police Station) since 2016.
For nearly 5 decades, Goldleaf has been faithfully satiating their loyal diners & patrons with old school Taiwanese porridge and associated comfort food; they’re also known for their affordably priced all-you-can-eat Taiwanese porridge buffet.
The architecture is a conservation from the old colonial era, and so, expect more columns & pillars than you would in modern restaurant settings. But I think they complimented the interior with the colonial façade – dark timber, white marble surfaces, black/white flooring.
Back in the old days, when HVAC technology were barely in place, the application of material, surfaces & textures were the life-hack in mitigating the hot & humid climate. And they’re actually very comfortable to dine on for lengthy communal meals.
This Chinese New Year, Goldleaf offers 4 set menus: Abundance ($388+ for 4pax), Happiness ($488+ for 6pax), Prosperity ($688+ for 8pax) and Auspicious ($888+ for 10pax). We got to taste a few highlights from each menu, as well as some main stays from their regular menu.
Barely a week to 大年除, not sure if you’re still in time for CNY 团圆饭 lunch/dinner reservations, but for sure, you’re good for CNY 开工餐 reservations.
Goldleaf Reunion Abalone Yu Sheng is somewhat familiar, but instead of raw fish, they use whole abalones… and that’s quite unheard of. For those dining at a larger table, they provide 12” chopsticks, so everyone can toss the yu sheng without straining to reach, nor risk contamination when the ingredients brush the hands.
The Fish Maw & Crab Meat in Superior Broth has a thick runny egg texture, with spongy fish maw & strands of deshelled crab meat. I was somewhat surprised that I’d find tiny bits of diced cucumber. I normally will add vinegar & pepper to raise the dynamics, but this version is already good on its own.
Braised Broccoli with Scallops, is quite a common dish for auspicious occasions. The scallops are fresh, juicy sweet with bounce to the bite, while the broccoli, sliced carrots, baby corn & black fungi were crunchy with natural sweetness. Good stuff!
Bringing the tasting to a crescendo, 2 jaw dropping fishes; the Deep Fried Seabass in Sweet and Sour Sauce (from Happiness set) and the Steamed Red Snapper in Hong Kong style (from both the Prosperity and Auspicious sets).
The Deep Fried Seabass is filleted neatly, the meat is lightly coated in flour & deep fried inside out & curled nicely, doused with the sweet & sour sauce, complementing the fish deliciously, while the skin remains crisp throughout the meal. Impressive stuff.
The Steamed Red Snapper is not inferior to the earlier mentioned deep fried. Steamed thorough where all parts of the fish were cooked, frolicking in the soy sauce blend & topped with a blanket of julienned spring onions & chili.
Note: Seabass is available in HK Style in the Abundance Set.
The Sautéed Prawns in XO sauce is pretty different from the HK style that local palates are mostly accustomed to. What’s so Taiwanese about it, is that the XO sauce & seasonings aren’t overbearing, so you can still appreciate the natural sweetness of the prawn. The shells are crisp & solid, makes it a lot easier to peel (just using chopsticks & spoon), and the meat is bouncy in each bite.
The Golden Cereal Prawns is not quite familiar to those you’ve tasted at local Tzechar as well. The cereals are smaller flakes, doesn’t clump, coated to the prawns, so you can savor the nice milky aromatic sweetness in the crust, before you peel the shell, and indulge in the natural sweetness for bouncy prawn meat.
Both renditions are good in their own way and tastes are nicely balanced, so there’s no need for rice nor palate cleansers.
Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables is a signature dish that’s not found on the CNY menus. The fat melts like butter in the mouth, and the meat flakes nicely as you chew. The mustard greens is mildly greasy since it soaked up the fatty goodness from the pork. Both the pork & leaves go well with plain porridge/ rice.
I look forward to coming back for the porridge buffet.
It’s customary for all Chinese communions to serve carbs before the desserts… Stewed Taiwanese Noodles with Crab Meat visually reminds me of dry served 手工面, yet aroma & tastes reminds me of the KL 福建面. There’s nice hue of wok-hei piping with fragrance of dark soy sauce laced with white pepper. The Tobiko adds a little more fun to the predictable texture, and umami tastes from the shiitake mushrooms & soy sauce.
Yam Paste with Gingko Nut and Goji Berry is whipped till silky smooth, not as greasy as old school recipes, it could actually be mistaken for 湖 instead of 泥. Personally, I actually appreciate this version as it’s not too sweet, but I do miss the fibrous texture from old school recipes.
All in all, I appreciate the highlights, especially the fishes & prawns; they’ve left lasting impressions on my palates & in my mind. In my opinion, based on what’s in each CNY set, the pricing is good value for money too.
Let’s all be reminded that its’ the CNY period, the service & kitchen staff deny their own festive celebrations, so that you can celebrate. Would be a nice gesture to offer a CNY tip in the bill too.
Kudos to the Karen of Goldleaf for inviting & hosting us, and thanks to Kristine for sharing the calories. And grateful for the company of Tiara, Ivan, Tracy, Hence, Ailing and Rachelle.
Mon to Thurs: 11am–2:30pm, 6–10pm
Fri to Sun: 11am–2:30pm, 5:30–10pm