Wow factors: Golden Dragon is inside Taj property and is truly magnificent, great decor and a welcome departure from the ubiquitous red lanterns that has become synonymous with Chinese dining
Not so wow factors: Non-spontaneous service bordering on being lackadaisical at times, insipid presentation of food despite having imported ingredients, few dishes tasted very ordinary making the overall experience underwhelming and definitely not the standards one would expect from a 5-star hotel
My rating: 3/5
Location (4/5): Golden Dragon is located in ground floor inside Taj Coromandel in Nungambakkam high road. Refer Google Map for accurate location.
Ambiance (4/5): A Tea lounge welcomes you as enter and has comfortable sofas. The restaurant is done elegantly, high ceiling makes it look large, and tables spaced out adequately from one another.
Parking (4/5): Valet parking is available.
Cuisine (2.5/5): Chinese. But the presentation was very pedestrian, definitely not what you expect in a star hotel. Some of the dishes tasted good, but most were quite ordinary. I saw that in an invite some of the dishes were presented beautifully. Very clearly showing their disinterest in serving patrons who pay and eat.
Pricing (3/5): Pricing is obviously high being a star hotel. Since this was part of Restaurant Week India, we paid Rs 750 per head, Rs 50 per head as convenience fee and taxes. In all I guess I paid around Rs 1,800 for two of us.
Service (2.5/5): Service was very ordinary. The steward who welcomed us gave us the menu card and disappeared. Another steward came after about 10 or 15 min to take order. We had to repeatedly request for things where it should have been spontaneous service. Overall very underwhelming.
Will I go back here? A Big NO!
Last year when Restaurant Week India came to Chennai for the first time, I immediately dismissed it for the high price. It was Citi sponsored then. Cut to the present, now it is sponsored by Ola. Perfect timing for Ola as they launched Ola Prime (adding to the confusion and making the app look very crowded). I received a mail from Ola that for Ola customers reservations are open for 2 days before opened to public. So I promptly booked a table for two in Golden Dragon. My first preference was Benjarong but wife picked this.
After the bookings opened to public, I noticed that Golden Dragon was fast filling up and within two days completely booked. I felt happy that I made the right choice. How wrong it proved to be! But the best part is I received two coupons from Ola and surprise surprise both the coupons worked. The sedans are also equipped with wi-fi and another surprise, wi-fi also works well. Though I am sure I will not use it again. Why will I when I can ride in Uber for much lower cost!
The restaurant is done elegantly, high ceiling makes it look large, and tables spaced out adequately from one another. I heard one of the stewards explaining few ladies (South East Asian descent) about the power of red etc. But I liked the ceiling the most. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that you can have the most mind blowing decor, but at the end of the day if the food on the table is not great, the ambiance does not matter to me
Chinese parsely and minced water chestnut soup: Looks can be deceptive. This soup tasted much better than what it looks like. This picture is not clear but we both liked the soup. Thankfully, no lemon grass overload. Since, the water chestnut was minced I am not sure how it tasted. But overall, liked the soup.
Artichoke, broccoli and pine nut dumpling: After discussing with the steward on the spice level and what to expect from the starters, we chose this dumpling and mushroom. I like artichoke very much and invariably I select this as a dip when I lived in the US. We liked the taste though we were warned that there would only be two pieces.
Mushroom konjeenaro: The star dish of the day. I am a big time mushroom fan and wife does not like very much. Yet, I was surprised when she liked it. It had shitake, button and shimeji varieties. I have given up hunting for varieties of mushroom in Chennai and till date not able to figure out why they are not available here. As a result I am sure they have imported this or at least bought it from somewhere else. Absolutely loved the crunchy shitake, soft shimeji and the usual button mushrooms.
The ultimate trio: The trio comprises lotus stem (imported), snow peas, and baby corn stir fried in a sauce. We liked the taste of this very much. Snow peas looked wonderful with transparent pods and peas in tact in their positions yet very easy on the mouth.
Corn and asparagus cakes in chilli soya: Well, call it semantics but they could have just named it balls. It did not look any different from the usual paruppu urundai which at least tastes better. Though the gravy was good, we did not like the balls at all.
Stir friend vegetable rice with golden garlic: There is nothing much you can do to a fried rice. It looked and tasted quite ordinary, nothing different from what you would get in a fast food or mid scale Chinese restaurant.
Singapore rice vermicelli with chilli and onion: Nothing but your normal semiya that we make at home. The insipid rice and vermicelli and also the misleading “cake” took away the charm of the gravies leading to a very very ordinary main course.
Flambeed toffee with vanilla custard: Once again we asked the steward to explain all the desserts before deciding on these two. I was inclined towards litchi and basil seed ice cream. But the moment he told me it is vanilla ice cream with basil leaves, we out rightly rejected it. I was hoping that this would be similar to the flavours you get in Pabrai’s. Anyway, so the flambeed dessert had no sign whatsoever of flaming. It had custard filling inside which tasted quite ordinary. He also mentioned that white chocolate was drizzled at the top. A very ordinary dessert.
Chocolate terrine: I hated this dessert for looks but loved it for the taste. Absolutely riveting dark chocolate taste only to be undone by the “rin” bar like appearance. Aah, the best part is when they had invited bloggers, the presentation was different, which at least made it look better. Clearly unenthusiastic to even present the food nicely. A total disappointment.
Very non spontaneous service. We had to ask for things like salt and pepper for soup, repeatedly ask for refilling of water. We clearly told in the beginning that we would like to be served chilled water for wife and ordinary water for me. But they did not bother to refill, and after some time we gave up. They took enormous time between courses. No one came to the table and said how long it would take.
Though I must mention one steward was very engaging. But of course, after I started asking questions he at least stopped to respond. But that was it. Very grim looking and uninterested staff.