Friday, 8 August 2008

Ho Wong, Ho Hum..

My mum was up to visit this week and she wanted to go to Ho Wong for some Chinese food. Now this place has a good rep, in part due to Rick Stein bigging it up on one of his telly programmes, so I hoped it lived up to it's reputation.

So off we trotted, my ma, myself and HI for dinner on Wednesday. We were the second table to be seated but as it got later the place began to fill up, predominately with Caucasian folk. I took this to be a bad sign, in comparison to Asia Style where there is a predominance of Cantonese and others of Asian provenance. The other warning sign were the hefty prices. I am talking £9 for some salt and pepper squid, £15 for some aubergine stuffed with minced prawns, £16 for some fillet of beef with salt and chili, £16 for some steamed prawns with black bean sauce and chili-you get my drift.

The service was overly attentive to the point where it was comical, in the sense of, if you didn't laugh you would cry. We got asked by four, four different waitresses if we wanted more rice on our plates within 3 mins, yes 3 mins. I don't know if they did it because they were bored, or because they don't talk to each other or because by other diners standards, we weren't eating enough, but it was pretty irritating. It felt like the purpose was not customer care but customer fleecing. Ditto HI being asked 5 times if he wanted more beer.
Anyway less of the griping and onto the food.

Well the squid was a small portion, most of it was cooked just right the odd mouthful felt rubbery.

It was not spicy enough though, and was disappointing compared to other versions I have had.
From left to right

Aubergine stuffed with minced prawns in black bean and garlic sauce. This was odd as the prawns were not minced as described on the menu, but whole, which is better. If eaten in it's entirety, it proved a tasty morsel. The black bean sauce very heavy, powerful and salty, maybe a bit too much so.
The chili and salt beef- disappointing. The beef was overcooked and tasted as if it might not have been that happy a cow. It was salty but not spicy enough.
The steamed prawns were good, large and perfectly cooked.
The egg fried rice that came with it was quite un-appetising. I like my rice and my eggs and esp together, but not on this occasion.
The choi sum could have been more garlicky, Asia Style wins this hands down.

I don't think I would go back. I think I would prefer to take my mum to Asia Style but since she can't cope with chili's anymore I would be wary of their liberal use of the fiery green ones. The next time she comes up I will have to think long and hard about where to take her.

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