Sydney’s hospitality scene took a blow last night when news began circulating that one of the city’s most famous eateries, Golden Century Seafood Restaurant, has gone into administration.
Chefs and fans of the beloved Sussex Street restaurant began posting tributes on social media, holding up the news as evidence of just how badly the hospitality industry is struggling through lockdown. One person even went as far as saying, “Sydney isn’t Sydney without Golden Century”.
At the time the restaurant had not confirmed the news – its website said it was temporarily closed due to Covid – but an administrator, Chifley Advisory, was appointed on August 17.
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The owners have since posted on the Golden Century Group Instagram account that the news is true. “If only these doors could talk, the stories they would tell, and the memories they share. Thank you Sydney for the past 32 years! We have been deeply touched by the outpour of love, support, and a little surprised by the tremendous reaction to the news that as we approach the end of our 20-year lease at our Chinatown venue, it is with deep sadness we will have to vacate our beloved premises we have come to know so well since 1990.
“Many lunches, dinners, and late nights, and generations of diners that have come through our doors celebrating everything there is to celebrate. We are thankful for the many fond memories with our family and friends, customers and supporters. We will treasure them forever.”
Eric and Linda Wong opened the Chinatown restaurant in 1989 after migrating to Australia from Hong Kong. GC, as it’s fondly known, became a Chinatown stalwart, serving Cantonese food to a steady stream of fans (including Lady Gaga, who patiently waited outside for a table). It also became a popular politician and chef hangout, and a preferred late-night dining haunt among foodies, who enthusiastically ordered fresh seafood straight from live tanks.
Its most famous dish, pippies in XO sauce, even caught the attention of American chef David Chang (Momofuku), who once called them “the best in the world".
The Wongs, including their son Eric, say they will continue to run XOPP in nearby Darling Square, which opened in September 2019, and their restaurant in Star Casino. There are also rumours circulating that they'll open a Golden Century in Parramatta.
Sydneysiders can also still order Golden Century signature dishes through food-delivery provider Providoor, including those pippies.
Hearing about the closure of #GoldenCentury is like a death in the family. The last time I celebrated my birthday in Sydney we went & had the XO pippies in honour of Anthony Bourdain. They’ve saved countless at 3am from hangover with a late night dinner. RIP.— Remy Hii (@RemyHii) August 19, 2021
Sydney isn’t Sydney without Golden Century https://t.co/6Ua4rBVLVF— Jess Ellicott (@jellicottt) August 19, 2021
*Golden Century closes*— Scott Dooley (@scottdools) August 19, 2021
Sydney to COVID: pic.twitter.com/UuTuY59ljz
This story was updated on Monday August 30 to include the owner's closure announcement via Instagram.