A. Wong Tasting Menu

I don’t normally make two posts about the same restaurant in quick succession – but when I made a second visit to A. Wong with my sister, their tasting menu definitely deserved a mention. You can read my original article here.

Eight Course Tasting Menu – £40

Dim Sum Platter
They had some different versions this visit – the foam added a really delicious seafood/citrus hit to the bite. All the dim sum were really juicy and well seasoned. I’m definitely making a trip for lunch at some point (when they have a much wider dim sum selection).

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Bean Curd Soup and Prawn Cracker
This is easily the biggest prawn crack i’ve ever seen – it’s a monster. I’ve no diea how they managed to fry it! The soup was rich, savoury and full of flavour.

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Fried Vegetables with Shrimp Butter
This was a delicious mix of pak choi, choi sum and some other veg – they’d cooked it just right so there was still some crunch and a lovely contrast of textures. The shrimp butter is inspired.

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Razor Clams
These can be a chefs worst nightmare – a fraction too long and it’s like chewing on an inner tube. These were beautifully cooked and went really well with the chinese sausage.

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Szechuan Chicken
The region is known for it’s peppercorns and the chef really went to town with them. For me it was the perfect balance, hot enough to warm your mouth but without too much numbing – others may find it a bit challenging! The chicken was incredibly moist and stood up to the spice well. It was served with a side of aubergine – similarly spiced and just as delicious. This was probably my favourite course!

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Steak and Yunnan Truffles
Just like their European counterparts – these truffles add a lovely nutty element to the dish and went really well with the rich beef and sauce. Well cooked and very tender. Bliss.

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Beef Noodles
Served with the steak – I’ve had these noodles before and they’re just as good – they manage to get the amount of soy just right, not too sweet, not too bland.

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Pineapple and Yoghurt
Apparently available everywhere in Beijing this yoghurt is very loosely set with a decidedly salty tang – when combined with the chili pineapple, it really comes alive. Yum.

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Poached Meringue with Lychee Granita
A lovely finish to the meal – crisp refreshing and with lots of interesting textures – the lychees really stood out.

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The dishes are varied, fun, complex and most importantly tasty. It’s a great little restaurant that definitely deserves support as it starts up – I look forward to many more happy meals!

Back in Britain

After the gorgeous weather of California, the depressing drizzle of London came as a bit of a shock. The only solution? Food.

MEATmarket

A spin-off of the fantastically popular MEATliquor, MEATmarket is situated in the heart of Covent Garden, overlooking the market. It’s a great place to sit and people watch while chowing down on a variety of gourmet burgers, fries and milkshakes. Their ‘dead hippy burger’ combines two beef patties with a delicious creamy sauce. The burger was almost too juicy, being a real challenge to eat – there’s kitchen roll on each table for a reason! The chips were excellent and very reminiscent of ‘In’n’out burger’ in the US. The milkshake was wonderfully decadent – I like them thick enough that the straw doesn’t fall over and you can’t spill it easily.

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MEATmarket on Urbanspoon

Cooking

Inspired by their excellent cookbook, I decided to attempt one of Momofuku’s signature dishes: pork buns. Their take on the chinese/japanese/korean classic of ‘char siu bao’ combines a soft clamshell bun, pickled cucumber, slow braised pork belly, spring onions, hoisin sauce and sriracha.

Making the buns from scratch is time consuming, but relatively easy, it’s a pretty straightforward white bread mix that’s then steamed. The pork needs to be home cured overnight and then cooked for hooours. The actual assembly time is very short, making a great dinner party starter.

The end results were far better than I expected, the buns were soft and fluffy, the pork was sweet, porky and had a lovely crunch at the edges. The pickled cucumbers were really nice, cutting through the sweet hoi sin sauce. The sriracha is rocket fuel – use with caution.

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