AD – Review Meal.
Wing Wah Chinese Restaurant has moved their main restaurant to the city centre Chinese quarter, and has given their menu a makeover to match their new home. The original was known for it’s Dim Sum, and a classic Chinese buffet. The new iteration has dialled back the buffet, and built a menu of A La Carte and Dim Dum options that marry classic flavours with modern presentation.
I went along to check out their new digs and to enjoy a bit of a Chinese feast. Wing Wah is tucked away in a side street in Chinatown, and is decked out in contemporary Asian style. Expect cosy booths, big tables for family dining and an open kitchen so you can watch your Dim Sum being prepared. Head downstairs to find ten private dining rooms, which can be booked for dinner or karaoke. Each room has a different theme, including K-Pop, Bollywood, Apres Ski and Ninjas. There’s a separate bar downstairs, so you can arm yourself with plenty of liquid courage, and have a good caterwaul in a (slightly mad) private room.
We were welcomed with a spread of some of the managements’ favourite A La Carte and Dim Sum options. A quick chat with the chef makes it clear just how much work goes into each dish. Visually, the food is beautiful, and styled to a level you would only find in an Asian restaurant. Dishes are garnished with elaborate displays of vegetables carved into flowers, birds or fish. Food is piled into birds’ nests made of noodles. A small terrarium full of what appears to be succulents turns out to be small cream cakes iced to look like miniature versions of the Dim Sum. A dish of large mushrooms is in fact sweet buns, filled with salted egg custard and dusted with coco powder. Wing Wah even employs a chef whose sole job is to carve the incredible fruit and vegetable creations.
It would be easy to dismiss all this set dressing as compensation for mediocre flavours, and I’ll admit that despite being very impressed by how colourful and beautiful everything was, I was concerned that when I actually ate something, it wouldn’t match up. I needn’t have worried.
The Dim Sum was as tasty as it was beautiful. You’ll find classics like pillowy Char Sui Pork Buns, filled with sweet pork. Soup Dumplings come in rainbow colours and a salty sauce that makes the flavours sing. Those mushrooms taste as good as they look, with plenty of sweet, salty egg custard inside.
From the A La Carte menu, there are equally tempting options. The nest of noodles we saw earlier is filled with truffled steak. The flavour is rich and succulent, and all that goodness soaks into the noodles below, creating truffle-flavoured crispness. A whole sea bass is lightly fried and served with the head still on. You can try whole crab, and are encouraged to get messy with it, slurping the meat from the claws. Order light, tender scallops, topped with glass noodles to soak up the cooking juices.
Even the rice is a little different here. Forget your bog standard Special Fried choice from the local takeaway. Here, the fluffy rice comes steeped with flavours like Yuzu, or cooked with spinach and prawns.
The food is accompanied by a sturdy wine list, but I hear whisper of a certain local cocktail God coming on board to create something very special. Keep your eyes peeled for that.
Our evening is rounded off with shots of some mystery Chinese liqueur, and an impromptu karaoke performance of Lady Gaga. Wing Wah are bringing big, punchy flavours, served in unique ways, and a staff who’ll make sure you have a fantastic evening. They might even sing you some karaoke.
I was a guest of Paul Fulford and Wing Wah. Food and drink were complementary for purposes of honest review. All words, images and opinions are my own.