Well we've just gotten back from the best Hunan meal that we've thus far had in London. Yes, better than the massive meal at Local Friends.
And it was in Chinatown! Gasp!
Golden Day occupies a rather large two storefront stretch of Shaftsbury Avenue which used to be another Chinese restaurant. Thanks to Limster's impressive long-range Chinese reading skills we had a great dinner there which came to 30 pounds a person for those of us who didn't have food poisoning (3 of us) and 15 for one of us who did.
The dishes were more or less as follows...
Pickled daikon with chilli which was relatively straightforward with a vinegary-spicy flavor.
Some of the best cold spiced beef I've ever had which was sprinkled with chilli flakes and displayed some wonderful knife work (unless they used a cold cut machine.) The slices were incredibly thin and layered nicely in a row. Again, great flavor.
Pork rib and winter melon soup had a lovely milky color and a very light pleasant flavor which cleansed the palate for many of the meals stronger flavors (aka nearly everything else.) Generous amounts of rib as well, though the prices would justify that.
Thousand year egg with pickled chillies was so far beyond what was served at Local Friends, but the portion was tiny. Great flavor on the pickled chillies. In fact, all the pickles at Golden Day seemed remarkably good. I'd imagine many if not all were made in house.
Adorable individually wrapped pork ribs caked with glutinous rice flour arrived somewhere in the mix of the last two or three dishes. Each rib was wrapped in its own lotus leaf and the flavor and texture were both lovely. Again, perfectly cooked and the meat pretty much fell off the bone. Nice texture from the flour.
The next dish displayed some serious knife work and the presentation was rather innovative. Chinese aubergine was carefully deskinned and quickly dry fried. Nice smokey flavor to the skin with the interior meat having a more oily deeply smokey taste. The entire assembly was a Hunan pickled vegetable on the bottom followed by the meat of the aubergine and finally the skin of the aubergine which was layered on top to make it seem as if you were being served a pile of far more simply cut aubergines.
Next came perhaps the most stereotypically Hunan dish of the night. Hunan fish head! Yay! What arrived was a somewhat pickled chilli deprived presentation of the classic dish but it had incredible flavor and the gelatin of the fish was great. A rather generous portion of four heads was served in a flavorful broth. The heads themselves basically shredded if you put much effort into moving them but you could poach bits of gelatin off them for ages. The dish also came with noodles which you added to the broth at the end.
The last and perhaps best dish to arrive was not actually on the menu but came at the reccomendation of our waiter. A mixture of three smoked meats (pork belly, chicken and fish) which came presented in layers was Limster's favorite dish and probably my own as well. Incredible smokey flavor coupled with a light saltiness and a nice vaguely crisp texture of disintegrating fish bone. The texture of the bone was something I've never really experienced before and I really enjoyed it.
Finally, the desert was a bunch of crisped glutinous rice sweets with bean paste in the center. They were made to look like carrots with little sprigs of coriander coming out the back. Lovely chewiness and a nice subtle flavor.