A Wong Pays Homage to Provinces in China, With a Modern Update
A Wong “Touching the Heart” Menu Review also featured on byevapiskadlo.com.
London gourmands all know of Chef Andrew Wong's eponymous restaurant, which recently garnered its second, well-deserved Michelin star. Wong's menu is inspired by his travels through the provinces of China, where he picked up a wealth of culinary techniques, punchy flavours and exotic ingredients. His Pimlico flagship demonstrates a sophisticated voyage through the regions, with a contemporary uplift taking note from western counterparts. On a dim sum whim, or more so with a stroke of luck despite its popular demand, Cha Siu Papers Times' London-based contributor Eva Piskadlo stopped by to try the A Wong "Touching the Heart" tasting menu with wine pairing.
We were seated at one of the restaurant’s fur-covered seats at their brilliantly warm outdoor terrace with a glass of bubbly upon arrival. Throughout the restricted outdoor dining period, A Wong is currently only offering their ‘Touches to the Heart’ menu, a 12-course dim sum experience with a paired wine flight. We were ready to tuck in.
蝦餃 Clear shrimp dumpling, sweet chilli sauce, rice vinegar cloud, 燒賣 Pork and prawn dumpling, pork crackling (pictured)
After some Nyetimber, the chilled ‘smacked’ cucumber with trout roe, chilli and garlic vinegar foretold the meal to come; deliciously delicate and it got the mouth watering for more. The starting platter of clear shrimp dumpling with sweet chilli sauce was topped with a rice vinegar cloud, paired with a pork and prawn dumpling with pork crackling. The classic dim sum flavours were there, but with another level of finesse.
The matching wine was a Maximin Riesling 2018, deliciously honeyed.
上海小籠包 Shanghai steamed dumpling, ginger infused vinegar, 雲吞 Crispy won ton with sweet chilli jam
The Xiao Long Bao was fragrant and paired nicely with the little tapioca balls resting on top. The Wonton with garlic, chilli oil and soy poached yolk was very clever indeed; the elements shaved thinly and tasted divine when mixed together as instructed in the bowl.
带子腸粉 Isle of Mull seared scallop and honey glazed Iberico pork cheung fun
The Isle of Mull seared scallop and honey glazed Iberico pork cheung fun were sandwiched between two crisps, reminding me of a Spanish sandwich, but with a Hongkie twist. We dipped this in the chilli oil, which gave me a flavour reminiscent of Bakkwa I used to eat at home in Singapore as a kid. I love that stuff.
The duck rolls were silkily seductive in texture. The filling was unexpectedly delightful—crunchy bits of roasted duck rolled with cucumber and caviar, then meshed with the umami from the sauce.
兔肉咸水角 Rabbit and carrot glutinous puff
The rabbit and glutinous puff made me go coo. It was such an innovative and delicate dim sum dish and I adored the presentation.
How appropriate, then, that one of the final offerings should boggle my mind so. A Wong’s famous duck yolk custard bun has the rare quality of being able to make me giggle; it tasted like euphoria in a dainty little bun! Salty sweet pine flavoured the sweet milk. I attacked the delicate handful with almost indecent relish, leaving no morsel on the plate.
流沙包 Steamed duck yolk custard bun
We finished our lunch with big grins plastered across our faces and vowing to come back for a blow-out dinner. We felt really well looked after; the service throughout the meal was exemplary, being just the right side of informal. Some places can make you feel like a second class citizen when choosing the standard wine flight rather than the prestige, but not at A Wong. The only downside, if I had to be picky, was that the service was a tad bit too quick, but understandable for our mandatory 2-hour dining window.
I liked that I could hear our main server softly humming himself a happy tune every time he walked past and there was no stuffiness on the terrace. The sommelier was quite charming and insisted I be the first to taste the wine, unlike some places that ignore the lady entirely. I'm starting to gush a bit now so I'll leave you with this—go, go, go.
Thank you to Andrew and Nathalie Wong, and the rest of the A Wong team for making our experience so memorable. I truly cannot recommend this dining destination enough.
A Wong, 70 Wilton Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1DE, awong.co.uk