It has been a long time since I've been to Wing Wah (the all you can eat Chinese restaurant) in Coventry, so when Emma said she was meeting some people there for lunch and asked me if I wanted to join them, I agreed.
The food doesn't seem to have changed in the intervening period but people don't go there for a constantly varying or challenging menu. People go there because it is a great value eatery with good quality food (as good as you can reasonably expect for £7 during the day).
One area where Wing Wah do sometimes get a bit imaginative is the presentation of their desserts. A few years ago I had a jam tart with a sprig of parsley on top so when I saw a jelly with what looked like a green bean on top, I expected the worst.
It turned out to be a sliced jelly sweet - the long tube shaped sweets with a fondant filling.
The title isn't strictly accurate. The Han Dynasty in the city centre is handy but certainly not nasty. The buffet might be a bit more expensive than last year (now £5.99) but there is a decent choice of food and what I had was consistently tasty.
The buffet foods were a mixture of things either deep fried or stir fried. My first plate had prawn toast, spring rolls, stir fried cauliflower & broccoli, noodles, mushrooms (stir fried and deep fried). The second plate was a selection of stir fried and curried meat dishes.
The restaurant interior is a bit more basic than China Red but the food was of a similar quality.
I like the way Wing Wah have expanded the dessert selection to include a wider range of gateaux and cakes. I like the way they decorated the mini swiss rolls with a blob of cream and a chocolate wafer. I also like the way they put a blob of cream and a raspberry on the jam tart. I don't like the way they decided to add a sprig of parsley to it.
It was a toss-up between the lunchtime buffet at China Red in Hertford Street, or the Handy Nasty (Han Dynasty) near West Orchards. We chose China Red simply because we were nearer to it at the time.
The buffet was fairly cheap at £5.90-ish. The selection was reasonable given the price. Starters included prawn toast, chicken satay sticks, ribs, spring rolls. Main courses included beef curry, sweet and sour chicken, noodles, rice.
The food was tasty, but the disadvantage of eating at lunchtime is that I can't eat as much as in the evenings, so I didn't get to have as many platesful as normal.
There were three of us this time around so we managed to try more dishes than last time. Never afraid to repeat ourselves, we started off with the excellent Dim Sum selection and Butterfly King Prawns this time with Curry Triangles, which were like small vegetable samosas and came with a curry sauce to dip them in.
We continued the familiarity theme with a repeat of the Jill Yuen chicken, which is battered pieces of chicken served with onions and chilli. The Crispy duck was also excellent.
The main course featured Noodles and beansprouts, and Sizzling Chicken with ginger. We felt like we still had some room left so had a second helping which included Pork and mushrooms and Egg fried rice. We would have managed ok if they hadn't brought us a double portion of rice.
I seem to find it impossible to go to Wing Wah without over-eating and leaving feeling full and uncomfortable. I suppose it's because they have such a great range of foods and I don't want to leave without trying most of them. I also have to have some chocolate fountain and ice cream. When I got home I needed a lie down.
The much anticipated bar and restaurant complex in the Old Fire Station finally opened last month. One of the restaurants there is MYO which provides all-you-can-eat Indian, Chinese and Thai food.
They offer a fairly lacklustre salad bar but the Indian food really shines. There is a wide range of starters and curries. All the ones I tasted were very good with a nice balance of spice and heat. The Chinese food on offer includes a stir fry section where you choose from a range of meats and vegetables and have them cooked while you wait.
The dessert selection included the now ubiquitous chocolate fountain. There were mini bits of swiss roll and a really tasty treacle sponge available for dunking.
The only problem we encountered was when we asked for the bill. They initially tried to bill us for 8 people despite the fact that only 7 turned up. They were fairly quick at bringing us a corrected bill though. We were then horrified to find that they had added a 10% Service Charge. For a Self-Service restaurant! Drinks were brought to the table but we served ourselves food. One of our party paid by credit card and they forced him to pay the full amount including the compulsory enforced tip. We paid the rest of the bill in full and left them some change for the tip but it fell slightly short of the 10% they demanded. It soured the whole dining experience and I'm unlikely to ever go back there again.
The bear of very little brain seems to have gained an intellect in China, although he does seem to need biscuits in order to achieve it. I found these in one of the Chinese supermarkets in Birmingham. The biscuits are number shaped and taste quite sweet, only marred by the bitter taste left by the Disney logo on the front of the pack.
Winnie the Pooh 'Intellect Biscuits'.
Update (28/10/06): We have eaten most of the pack and although the numbers go from 0 to 9, there don't seem to be any 1's.
This was the first time we had eaten here since the place recently reopened after being refurbished. The previous time was actually a take-away so we had an idea of the food on offer. The restaurant is much smaller than Wing Wah and has a smaller choice of food but the quality is every bit as good. Prices are slightly lower with evening dining costing around £12-13.
The selection of starters was good. Chicken and sweetcorn soup went down well and came with optional croutons. Crispy seaweed was sweeter than at Wing Wah but still acceptable. There were the obligatory crispy duck pancakes and some tasty steamed dim-sum type dumplings.
The teppanyaki was disappointing. Instead of selecting a plate of meat, vegetables and/or noodles and taking them to be cooked, you choose a piece of chicken, steak or salmon and have that cooked, and then add accompaniments from the main courses on offer. The Dessert selection was reasonable. We were impressed by the small pots of jelly, trifle or cheesecake. We missed out on the chocolate fountain; it was running on empty when we were there and only got re-filled as we were leaving.
We were going to go to Turmeric Gold tonight because it was our 3rd Anniversary dinner and we thought we should go somewhere special. While we were on our way out Emma decided she was in the mood for a chinese buffet. We hadn't booked so it was easy for us to change our minds at the last minute.
The 2nd of Emma's birthday parties. This time held in the Wing Wah Chinese Restaurant in Coventry. They do an all-you-can-eat buffet for around £12-14 evenings and weekends, only £6 mid-day but there is less choice. As well as all the usual stir fried food (which is very tasty) they also have a Teppanyaki bar where you select the food you want cooking and it's cooked in front of you. It's fascinating to watch this in action, with the spatulas almost dancing across the grill as the food is mixed and cooked. The highlight of this is when the brandy gets added, and the grill briefly becomes a wall of flame.
The dessert selection used to be fairly typical until they got a chocolate fountain. I think you're supposed to use the sticks and fruit provided (usually lychees and melons) but we tend to pick other things off the dessert table and dip those as well - grapes, lumps of cake, that kind of thing. It's also good to collect some of the chocolate in a spoon and pour it over the ice cream where it sets into a hard shell.
The Wing Wah also have a special birthday dessert - usually a melon or pineapple filled with ice cream and with a giant sparkler sticking out. This is brought to the table with great ceremony to a recording of a chinese lady singing 'happy barthday'. We tried to make sure that Emma didn't fill up on all the other foods because two of her friends had ordered one of these. In the end, we still had to help her out eating it.
(photo of Emma and the ice cream taken by AndyMac. Andy - hope you don't mind me stealing your photos and using them on my site!)
I recently ran out of Green Tea, so I bought a packet from a local deli - I ended up with a pack of 'honey and jasmine' flavour because it was reduced from £2.50 to 50p (it was out of date, but tea keeps for ages so I thought it was worth a try). It tastes ok.
Here is the old packet of tea which I was drinking - it contained 4 smaller packs, each of a different variety.
This is the back of the box:
And here are the individual boxes:
Click on the thumbnail to view the image