Restaurant Review: Great Century Restaurant

Name: Great Cen­tury Res­taur­ant
Address: 23 Green­field Parade, Bank­stown, NSW 2200
Phone: (02) 9796 3366
Type: Res­taur­ant
Cuisine: Chinese

I’m sure it has been said that while one of multiculturalism’s great products is the great vari­ety of res­taur­ants we can choose from in Sydney, the Chinese res­taur­ants here are gen­er­ally quite lack­ing. If you’ve been to Hong Kong or else­where, the choice on offer in Sydney seems down­right ped­es­trian, and even if you haven’t, rude waiters and mediocre food are not uncom­mon tales.

The Great Cen­tury Res­taur­ant has had many a name over the years, but there has always been a Chinese res­taur­ant of some descrip­tion in the pink build­ing on Green­field Parade in Bank­stown for as long as I have known. While it has never been any­thing to sing home about, we always enjoyed hav­ing fam­ily din­ners there because we would get sea­food or some­thing else that grandma couldn’t throw together herself.

Unfor­tu­nately, it’s not quite the same any more. Now, vast amounts of uneven sticky-​​tape adorn the walls, hold­ing up spe­cials typed up onto pink sheets of paper — not quite the soph­ist­ic­ated look. The fish tank, the staple of a Chinese res­taur­ant, has been moved from its prime pos­i­tion near the entrance to one of the corners. Some of the waiters were rather cas­u­ally dressed — I’m sorry, but that’s just not on.

Waiters push­ing you to order never quite set the scene right. So we ordered, and we sat around for a while. We drank the com­pli­ment­ary arrival soup; it was lack­ing in com­plex fla­vours, feel­ing as though it were watered down or boiled with insuf­fi­cient ingredi­ents. Then we sat around for a while. Then one dish came. It was scal­lops with veget­ables — pass­able, if it weren’t for the fact that it was luke­warm. Some­thing gave me the hint it had been sit­ting around for a while.

So we ate the scal­lops, and twiddled our thumbs for a while, then the rice came, and then we twiddled our thumbs for a while some more. It’s a sure sign something’s wrong when grandpa got up to get the teapots refilled him­self. Not that the tea was any­thing spe­cial either.

The Pek­ing duck was prob­ably the high­light of the meal — a tan­tal­ising slither of duck skin wrapped in a pan­cake with a scal­lion, drenched in sweet noodle sauce. Luck­ily for me, there were extras and I couldn’t wait to grab myself a second help­ing. There was a little more fat than I would have liked, but hey, that’s what you get with duck.

Then, things mira­cu­lously sped up and the dishes star­ted pil­ing in; sud­denly the paucity of food turned into a feast. The fish was a bit chewy but the main con­cern was the oyster sauce — oyster sauce, I think, goes well with few things, and that fish wasn’t one of them. The noodles were soft and a pleas­ure to gulp down, but they were drenched in sauce. The crispy skin chicken looked like it had been hanging around for a while, and the rest of the duck meat came on a plate — not presen­ted in any appet­ising way, and it was pos­it­ively unap­pet­ising with the strange-​​tasting sauce that accom­pan­ied it. I love duck with taro, but there just wasn’t much duck and hon­estly, that taro didn’t taste very much like taro. We also had shark fin with some kind of veget­able — for­tu­nately, such a dish is always bound to be a crowd pleaser.

After the casually-​​dressed waiters cleaned away the plates and bowls, com­pli­ment­ary dessert in the form of sliced oranges and cook­ies were served; I didn’t have the oranges (I could smell the sour­ness from a metre away) but the cook­ies were nice, except that I don’t think they should have had a soft centre.

In gen­eral, I often find that the com­pli­ment­ary dishes a res­taur­ant gives away impact quite a bit on how I per­ceive them; how­ever, in this case, they should prob­ably worry about the mains first. The place just reeks of an atti­tude that they just don’t really care very much about you, or the food.

I’m just glad I wasn’t the one paying.

Food: 4/​10
Ser­vice: 4/​10
Ambi­ence: 5/​10
Value for money: 5/​10
Over­all: 4/​10
(what do these num­bers mean?)

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  1. Dan’s avatar

    Once upon a time that res­taur­ant actu­ally had ambi­ence, and people held wed­ding recep­tions there. The build­ing must be cursed, because with every suc­cess­ive owner, the ser­vice and qual­ity is crap. CRAP.

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