Old school

THERE’S old school and then there’s Golden Gate Chinese in Bicton.

The photos of food splayed across the windows, the kitsch illuminated sign, the basic decor and tablecloths, the fact it’s rarely closed and the location – sandwiched between a petrol station and a gym on the Canning Highway.

I half expected to see Lieutenant Columbo stumble out, clutching his notepad and crumpled old raincoat.

“Just one more thing, Mr Simpson. How did you manage to stay on as coach?” 

The owners’ dedication has to be admired – I’ve driven by on a bitterly cold winter’s night early in the week (picture a scene from a Dickens novel) and there’s maybe one person in there, but they’re still open for business.

I imagine they do a lot of takeaway trade, so maybe that’s the secret to their longevity.

I’ll be honest – I only tried their takeaway once, years ago, and it was pretty average.

But that was almost a decade ago, so I thought it was time to give this rumpled Bicton stalwart another go.

The menu was longer than War and Peace and had a litany of dishes with chicken, beef, lamb, pork, duck, seafood and fish, as well as chow mein, omelettes, noodle dishes and soups.

There was everything from kung pao, Szechuan and Mongolian to sweet and sour, Peking ribs and Chinese barbecue pork.

It was a bit of a chilly Spring night, so I went for the Sizzling beef with chilli black bean sauce ($26) to warm the cockles.

From the off, I knew it would be good as I could see an array of shiny veg peeking through a mound of glistening beef.

There was a fantastic medley of vegetables including broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, green and red peppers, corn and mushroom, giving the dish a mix of textures and flavours. It was nicely cooked as well – slightly under and super fresh.

And a salutary reminder that Chinese food can be healthy if you steer away from the battered dishes and fried rice.

But what about the main attraction – the sizzling beef with chilli black bean sauce?

It was tender, good quality and there was tons of it – the black bean having that trademark moreish tang, without being too salty.

I would have liked more chilli to give it a kicker, but that aside, it was a great dish with quality produce.

As sure as night follows day, my wife “Special K” will order lemon chicken ($24) from the Chinese restaurant.

“It’s really good quality chicken – a thick succulent fillet with light golden batter,” she noted.

“The sauce is good too – not too sickly with a nice lemon zing. It’s great value with a big serve.”

We shared a steamed rice ($6.50) which was the perfect size for two people.

Across the table my two young kids, just back from karate and ravenous, demolished a chicken chow mein ($26 with soft noodles).

Again a big serve and quality produce. I had a sneaky taste and while perhaps a tad under seasoned, it was perfect for young kids.

Completing the picture were some lovely spring rolls (four for $8) – crunchy, hot with a nice fresh filling.

Since my last outing, Golden Gate Chinese has significantly upped its game.

The prices aren’t the cheapest, but the produce was good quality and the serves were big and packed with flavour.

File under takeaway, or if you’re feeling like a trip back to 1975, wander inside for a sit-down meal.

Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant
406 Canning Highway, Bicton
9339 4844
Open Tuesday-Sunday


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