Golden Century

393-399 Sussex Street, Sydney, 2000, Australia

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Golden Century is a bustling Chinese seafood restaurant popular amongst chefs, partly due to its 4 am closing time. It has numerous tanks of lobsters, crabs, clams and assorted seafood on display at the front of the restaurant. If you order one of these then it is scooped up from the tank, weighed and then out in a little bag and displayed to you as it heads off to the kitchen to be cooked. No issues with the freshness of the fish here. The menu was vast.

The wine list was surprisingly ambitious. It offered labels such as Goldridge Estate Pinot Noir 2013 at AS$55 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for AS$21, Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2015 at AS$89 compared to its retail price of AS$54, and Lakes Folly Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 at AS$145 for a wine that will set you back AS$107 in the shops. For those with the means, there were plenty of prestige wines on offer too, such as Bouchard Pere et Fils Batard Montrachet 2010 at AS$750 compared to its retail price of AS$434, and the ambitiously priced Faiveley Clos de Cortons Monopole 1996 at AS$850 for a bottle with a current market value of AS$203. I can't imagine they sell too many bottles of the Henri Jayer Echezaux 1980 at AS$23,000 for a wine that retails at AS$10,400, and that was not even the priciest wine listed.

We began with some dim sum. Har gau had nicely cooked prawn filling, though the dumpling was a little crude in texture compared to the best of the breed (13/20). Similarly shu mai was a little large and clunky, though perfectly pleasant (12/20). Better was prawn and chive dumpling, whose filling was excellent (14/20).

A whole barramundi was duly fished out of a tank and weighed, then returned to the table steamed with ginger and coriander, and expertly filleted by our waitress. It was carefully cooked and had good flavour (14/20). Singapore noodles had good texture and featured a few nicely cooked pieces of seafood, including prawns, squid and scallop (14/20).

Service was perfunctory and will not win any awards for warmth and charm. The bill came to AS$70 (£40) per person with just jasmine tea to drink. If you ordered wine and shared a modest bottle then a typical cost per head might come to around £60. Golden Century is anything but slick but delivers competently cooked, undeniably fresh seafood.

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