Hesitation at writing about restaurants happens to me from time to time, but not usually one as popular and great as this. It might be the night. Wet and gloomy, standing out in light rain waiting to enter the restaurant is not the most fabulous way to begin the evening. Several people in front of us in line just want to get through to the bar for a drink and are asking for tables later. Please just let us in!
Enter Mr Wong. Once greeted by one of the three or so maitre’d types we are quickly seated in what appears to be the last table for two in the restaurant which is gigantic. While the entrance, going up a small staircase, is well lit, almost like the red carpet at the Academy Awards, the rest of the restaurant is dark and intimate. It has typical industrial features but it’s hard to put your finger on the influences in the room and the decor such is the size and frenetic feeling.
The menu is diverse but whilst we are not strict Catholics, tradition wears many masks, and we are on a seafood diet for tonight. We start with the yellowfin tuna which melts in your mouth, only bettered with the delicious sweet wasabi which varied in its heat but those tastes with a bit more kick were amazing. The kohlrabi leaves reminded me of seaweed, but that might have been the soy and ginger dressing influencing my tastes.
For main we chose the blue cod fillets with ginger and shallots which had a light touch from the chefs, cooking the fish beautifully. The sauce tasted of the ingredients described, but was a subtle flavour, combining perfectly with the white fish. As a side we tried the very fresh asparagus, snap peas and broccoli with garlic and rice wine. This is an excellent vegetable dish which should be done more often. The light touch of the chefs again on show with perfectly cooked crisp vegetables in a sauce that provided a nice flavour but didn’t take away from the stars themselves.
I was a little confused with dessert as the main aspect I felt like was the “green tea cream” which was not one of the obvious flavours. It also only said with “raspberries” but was actually presented as sorbet. Nonetheless the chocolate was deliciously rich; the sorbet balanced and technically perfect. It was a nice dish, but did leave me yearning for some sweet green tea.
The wine list is diverse and reasonably priced. I enjoyed the German riesling from Mosel by ‘Pauly’ for its lifted fruit, finishing with drying acid to balance. When matched with the Asian flavours and heat of the wasabi in the yellowfin tuna dish, it was particularly good. The Chablis on the list is also excellent.
Having settled in for the night it was more than possible to relax with the crowd fading away both figuratively and literally. The food had been fantastic, and without question we would go back for the meat based dishes. Service had also been quite good, especially considering the numbers being served. Tonight it felt like a challenge getting in to Mr Wong but once we did things quickly improved.