Hidden among Mexican restaurants, sandwich shops and supermarkets on a slightly undesirable side street next to Victoria, A Wong is an unusually placed rising star.
But rising star it is. And quite rightly so. Young chef Andrew took over what used to be his dad’s restaurant Kym’s at the end of last year, made it over, and reopened under his own name.
Some lukewarm, then some rave reviews have followed from the likes of Giles Coren, Marina O’Loughlin and Fay Maschler. But what’s important is that the punters love it and the simple dining room was packed to the rafters when we visited on a Tuesday evening.
In fact, we were initially offered the last table – a seat at the bar looking into the bustling open kitchen. But a cancellation landed us a table and a more relaxing seat to enjoy a flavoursome feast that kicked off a super-sized prawn cracker.
A Wong is famed for its tasting menu. A reasonable priced affair at £38.88 for eight courses that takes in dim sum, poached Scottish razor clam with sea cucumber and Beijing yoghurt.
There’s also a well priced set menu. Just short of £15 for a starter and main from a small selection of the restaurant’s favourites, including a drink. A good deal.
But we ordered a la carte. Starting with piping hot, oversized mushroom, bamboo and vermicelli spring rolls before diving in to some superb main courses.
The winner by far had to be the side of Sichuanese aubergine – strong, spicy and incredibly moreish. Rice was light and fluffy, and the chicken dishes – heavily spiced, and moreish – flew off the plate. The pudding – a crumble finished with salty, soy caramel, will definitely be ordered again.
The dishes were beautifully presented and perfectly priced. Slightly slow service was made up for by charm, enthusiasm and an obvious desire to ensure each table enjoyed their visit.
I’ll certainly be back to try the poached Scottish razor clam with sea cucumber.