A. Wong: Hard to go w(r)ong (October 2017)

For as long as I’ve lived in London, Victoria is a place from which to catch trains and little else. Most of the time, the area resembles (as it does today) a building site. In other words, not somewhere one would consider coming for lunch. Things are admittedly changing, and for the better, but it was not to one of the newer places in the district to which I recently ventured, but instead to A. Wong, a superb find worth seeking out. Blink and you might miss it: go five minutes south of the station and there the restaurant stands, opposite a branch of Sainsbury’s supermarket. Had it not been for the recommendation of the friend with whom I dined, I would never have set foot in the place. The eponymous Mr. Wong cooks with a passion and self-consciously draws his menu from all regions of China. The emphasis is both on variety and presentation. While the dining room itself could be described as somewhat functional, guests can see the chefs in action and the place certainly did not lack atmosphere on our lunchtime visit. We opted for dim sum and asked the waiter to bring us a selection of dishes. This was a great way in which to see the kitchen at its best. From the ten we tried, not one was a disappointment. The dishes ranged from the conventional (honey-baked pork buns, for example) through to the genuinely innovative. The latter is perhaps best epitomised by the ‘rabbit and carrot glutinous puff.’ Here, minced rabbit meat comes served in a piece of lurid orange rice-paper, shaped like a carrot and topped with green herbs to enhance the visual effect. Among the other highlights was the won ton with garlic, chilli oil and crispy bean curd dish – so good, we ordered a second round. Service was efficient and helpful and with a bill of only £27/head (with tea to drink), we came away not only pleased with the food, but also the value for money. Next time you need to catch a train from Victoria, build in some time to eat here first.