Lunchquest’s tie man, Phil from www.tieclub.co.uk, has been on at me to pay Wok and Wine a visit for a good wee while. I even had the singular joy of his mother echoing this sentiment a hundred fold at Phils’s recent engagement party (congratulations again, Sandra and Phil).
So, when MJ and I were looking for somewhere to continue the merriment of our celebratory evening (MJ has just acceded to the status of award-winning poet!), we took the short trip along the road to sample the delights that two generations of Mowats had promised us.
Upon making our way down the flower-trimmed staircase, we were promptly shown to a table in the front section of the restaurant. Extensive menus were handed over. We then set our minds to taking in the dazzling array of information contained therein.
I’m a man often confused by menus that contain three options per course, so confronting me with a menu that ran to well beyond ten pages did not particularly bode well. But I had a very clear vision of where to go with my choices, in no small part due to the simple clarity of the dish descriptions. MJ coped with similarly commendable competence, only swithering because of the sheer range of dishes that tickled her fancy.
I opted for the seafood and tofu soup, to be followed with the Wok Udon noodles. MJ settled upon the selection of steamed dumplings, to be followed by the sizzling lamb.
Before the starters appeared, we were treated to prawn crackers, then some lovely little coconut veggie dim sum, served with what can only be described as the most amazing soy sauce we’ve ever encountered. If ever there was something that we’d have loved to “disappear” from a restaurant, it was this thick and unctuous substance and the bottle that contained it. It is not in MJ’s nature to indulge in such behaviour, but I could tell that she was sorely tempted.
Starters were really good. MJ got a joyous dose of theatre, as her dumplings were presented still in the steamer. She lifted the lid, with care, on some beautifully crafted items.
My soup looked highly intriguing, too. Upon inspection, it contained a lovely array of seafood delights. The broth was light but with a good viscosity, but it was the sheer diversity of lovely morsels contained within each mouthful that was the real sensation. With a profusion of prawns, mussels, mushrooms, and tofu, each spoonful held a different treat. It made me happy.
Main courses were of similar high quality. MJ’s sizzling platter had great theatre (two theatrical dishes? Maybe that’s how life goes for award-winning poets), as it sizzled its way to the table. Mine had a similarly pleasing effect on the eye, as it looked both substantial and varied. Independently, we assessed our prospects of completing the intake of both of these dishes as remote. But then we tasted them, and this view mollified somewhat.
I tend to opt for the “special house” dishes with Chinese places, as they usually offer a nice range of what the place has to offer. And this lovely noodle dish was no exception. The udon noodles were chunky and satisfying and the diversity of meat, seafood, and vegetable items that were blended through them couldn’t have been more pleasing.
I tried a little of MJ’s lamb, along with the steamed rice, and it seemed her choice was very good, also.
So, Wok and Wine was everything the Mowats promised it would be and more. I’ve rarely been more impressed by a Chinese restaurant. As such, if and when the question comes up, it will be to Wok and Wine that I send folks when they ask “where do I get good Chinese food in this town?”
After a nice few drinks in the Underdogs, BKR and I made our way over to Wok and Wine, and I was ecstatic to find it open. The lower ground floor restaurant manages to make the fact that there are no windows not really noticeable, and the place takes on a vibe of warm calm.
After we perused the large and well laid out menu, we decided on our starters and mains, and a nice bottle of rose to go with the meal.
I love dim sum, so when I get the chance to have it outside of my regular haunt in London’s China Town, I often go for it. This evening was no exception. After a special wee snack of something slightly coconutty, the starters arrived (BKR was in soup heaven with all the choice), and my dim sum was quite good, but what stole the show (and what I wanted to sneak into my bag and take home) was the home made soy sauce. And yes, we asked, they do make it in the kitchen. It’s thick and syrupy like a really good balsamic vinegar from the cellars in Rome.
Once we had put away the tasty starters our waitress brought out a stand with candles underneath to keep our main dishes warm while we ate.
Then they arrived. My sizzling leg of lamb on a flat, black cast-iron plate, over flowing with veggies and bits of lamb in a simple sauce. BKR’s Wok Udon Noodles came out as well and were piled high in slipperly fashion.
The lamb was really tasty with the veggies having a nice crunch and the sauce not too overpowering or sticky. The flavour of the lamb came through nicely and it was good, lean cuts which worked well with the rice I ordered to come alongside.
I also had a taste of the udon, and it was good as well with an excellent mix of meats which gave a range of flavours all held together in the simple sauce.
Overall, this was very good. The best Chinese food I’ve had in Edinburgh so far. I’d go back again soon, and recommend you do as well, if for no other reason, than to taste the soy sauce.
Blythe scores Wok and Wine
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16.5/20
MJ scores Wok and Wine
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 16/20
Today’s questers were: MJ, Blythe
We ate: seafood and tofu soup, selection of dumplings, sizzling leg of lamb, Wok udon noodles
We drank: rose wine, water
We wore: the top and suit that I will always associate with this, the first, year of questing
Total bill: £53