Before you even take a seat at this decades-old Chinese diner, you’re offered tea – green, jasmine, oolong or chrysanthemum. And barely a minute later, a cart filled with steamer baskets will park by the table – do you want pork and prawn siu mai, braised chicken feet, or a scallop-topped number?

During the lunchtime yum cha rush, Gold Leaf is a well-oiled machine, going through a timed dance it’s been mastering for decades. At any given time three carts are being pushed around the expanse of the dining room. As soon as a bamboo basket is empty it’s whisked away, and seconds after a table is vacated, the serviettes and cutlery are replaced.

There are dozens of dishes across the carts, ranging from savoury fried wontons and beef tripe to desserts such as egg tarts and custard buns. And for dinner there are familiar classics, including peking duck pancakes, lemon chicken, and sweet and sour pork. You can also get more exotic game such as crocodile and kangaroo in XO sauce.

The large dining room buzzes with families speaking in Cantonese and Mandarin. Yellow-and-red paper lanterns float overhead, and an atrium skylight is painted sky-blue with clouds drifting past.

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Updated: February 7th, 2023

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