Goldfish – Chinese fine dining in the City – review

asian restaurant review Goldfish wall The restaurant is just a few weeks old and graces the former Hi Sushi site. It’s a sister of the Goldfish which has become a successful Hampstead institution. It’s entertained the affluent residents of that classy suburb as well as a clutch of celebs.

This is a classic City stomping-ground near Bank. Both the architecture and the pedestrians speak of solid international business which seems to be weathering the financial storm judging by the packed lunch-time tables. Goldfish caters for high quality and fast turn-over during the day, although the evening meals are taken at a much more leisurely pace.

The ground floor restaurant is crisp and thoughtful. A mural of a1930’s Shanghai-esque advertisement adds an air of sophistication. A wall embossed with Chinese calligraphy contrives to be both contemporary and traditional. A screen of back-lit coloured glass with the iconic goldfish subtly illuminates the main restaurant area. There is a basement bar and karaoke booth for those night revellers, but the food is the draw here.

Goldfish is new but it has already scored a host of regulars. Many of our fellow diners were evidently ’something in the City’, and there were a good number of Oriental  faces amongst them. They were evidently satisfied with their meal and I am sure they know more about that cuisine than do I. That was reassuring.

asian restaurant review Goldfish bento beef Head chef Kevin Chow (previously of Cocoon) has a focus on fish, seafood and innovation. The dim sum are the most delicate I have encountered to date. The wrappers were thin and translucent rather than stodgy and rib-sticking which is more the norm for lesser restaurants. The dim sum selection steamer is prawn-based, although lunch guests have a wider range, including chicken feet which are not one bit challenging and should be tried. It’s about texture as much as flavour. Order a few dim sum as a starter.

The menu is shorter than many run-of-the mill Chinese restaurant menus but it is no worse for that. There’s the popular dim sum for the lunch crowd and there is a smaller selection for the evening diners. It is after all considered more traditionally for brunch. There is the convenient Bento Box (an ingenious reminder of the previous Japanese incarnation) for those who want fast food without the fast-food mediocrity. The main menu, which is available for both lunchtime and dinner, deserves to be lingered over.

But it was lunch time and I took advantage of the Bento boxes, or at least one of them. The black lacquered sectioned box presented a full meal of rice, vegetable side dish, soy sauce, roast duck and char siu pork. The duck was tender, moist and flavourful and the pork was aromatic and pink with marinade. Made fresh every day, it’s an iconic Chinese dish.

My guest ordered wok-fried sliced beef. This proved to be a stunner. The meat was succulent and spiked with fresh black pepper. It is cooked fresh with the sauce rather than being pre-cooked, left hanging about, then re-heated. It’s the attention to detail and striving for a remarkable dish that sets Goldfish apart.

Crispy Prawn was a revelation. The saffron-coloured mayo coated seafood that was enrobed in a delicate batter. A dice of mango gave a sweet counterpoint to the citrus edge of the sauce. This must surely be unique to Goldfish. The prawns were served on a lacquered pine platter – perhaps another donation from the Goldfish’s Japanese forebear.

I have often found Chinese food to be rather lack-lustre. Goldfish presents a menu that offers a palatable melange of both tradition and innovation. The service is attentive and charming, the ambiance is vibrant and contemporary, but it’s the food which will ensure return visits. If Goldfish maintains its high standard then success is assured.

Goldfish Restaurant
46 Gresham Street, Bank, London EC2V 7AY
Phone: 020 7726 0308
Visit Goldfish here


Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018