Four Seasons, Bayswater, London
Had rice with three roast meats.
The skin on the roast duck is flabby, the fat could be rendered a bit more, Other wise nice flavour in the flesh. The version at Gold Mine is superior.
Char siu, the glazed roast pork is good, with nice charred bits and edges and very tender, but again, not as good as Gold Mine.
Siu yuk, roast fatty pork is an outstanding rendition - seamless transition of lean to fatty cut and then the thinnest crunch from a very crispy skin, on par with Gold Mine here.
On the whole, I'd prefer Gold Mine over Four Seasons, but it's only one sample. Anyone else done the comparisons?
We go to both often, as we live in the area. We prefer Goldmine for char siu, whereas things are much more variable when it comes to roast duck - about 2/3 of the times we prefer Four Seasons, although usually not during Winter time, when their duck is too fatty and the skin not crisp enough.
I can't remember exactly when I first had Four Seasons' roast duck - but it's sometime between 1975 and 1979. At the time, it was widely considered by many visitors from Singapore, Malaysia & Hongkong to be the best Chinese-style roast duck, not just in London and the UK, but the WORLD!! Over the years, it has maintained its standards & remained very popular.
I just went back to Four Seasons again last month during a visit to London, my first time back to the restaurant in 3 years. Oh my, have the standards fallen - it was simply awful! Any of the 20 or so Crystal Jade outlets in Singapore serves roast duck which tastes better than Four Seasons' now.
I haven't been to Gold Mine yet, but a London friend tells me the chef was formerly from Four Seasons.
I absolutely agree with klyeoh - the duck at Four Seasons is RIDICULOUSLY over-rated. And what is unfortunate is that people who think that their duck is so good have no idea what they can find in Asia. Then again I guess, as someone else said on this board recently, "it's all relative," which means that it's all compared to what else you can find in the locale, and London is definitely not known for Chinese food.
I made a reservation for 12 people at Four Seasons and got a call confirming the reservation that same morning. When arriving at the restaurant, I was told that we all had to wait 20 min for the table. "Making a reservation" the manager told me "doesn't mean the table is ready when you arrive. There are other customers at your table. You have to wait for them to finish. Just like you would wait for a delayed train".
I was shocked. We went elsewhere and ended up having a very good time.
If a meal isn't worth waiting 20 minutes for, then I wouldn't want to eat in that place in the first place. What's 20 minutes in the scheme of life? One day you may be that party that took an extra 20 minutes to finish your dinner. Would you want to be thrown out without finishing?