Instead of serving large numbers of people the standard set of Cantonese dishes that is prevalent in European Chinese restaurant, A Wong has the ambition of bringing cuisine from all over China to London. Wong does not serve classical dishes, but interprets them in his own way. His food shows that he is clearly aware of the roots of dishes from all over China, but is not afraid to play with seasoning, condiments and textures, to serve modified classics.
Unlike some “modern Chinese” cuisine that you find in restaurants all over China, A Wong’s subtly modernised dishes successfully interpret the country’s most famous dishes. Take the example of the dim sum menu available at lunch.
The har gau served here is among the best Europe. The prawns are springy, crunchy and sweet, and the addition of a citrus foam gives just the right amount of acidity to really lift the flavours. Instead of using vinegar, which can easily overpower the delicate prawns, the light and citric foam makes sense, and only adds a modern touch to the otherwise classic har gau.
Similarly good is the siu mai. Again, the dumplings are very traditional, made of pork and prawns. The extra touch here is a bit of pork crackling. This adds even more crunch to each bite. The seasoning, product quality and steaming are all of the highest order, meaning that it will be difficult to find more convincing har gau elsewhere in the UK.
Chengdu street tofu is one of the few dishes, where the creative spirit gets carried away. Served in a tiny cup, this suffers from being served as a portion that is literally no more than one spoonful. What you are left with are little cubes of tofu that are overwhelmed by the peanuts. Given that this is supposed to be street-food, having such a tiny portion of it is a little disappointing.
A Wong is unique. It’s a restaurant that clearly has ambitions, and the technical capabilities to take Chinese cooking quite a lot further than has thus far been the case in London. Anyone writing Chinese food off as being coarse and lacking in sophistication should pay a visit to Andrew Wong. The food will most likely make you change your idea.