One very useful feature of the A. Wong menu is that you can order dim sum by the piece rather than the portion of three or four pieces that is the norm in most restaurants. If you are eating on your own then this means that you can still try eight or nine things at lunch, rather than just the three dishes that would normally be the case.
I took advantage of that today, and tried a wide range of dim sum. Shanghai steamed dumpling (aka xiao long bao) with ginger infused vinegar had a liquid soup centre within the dumpling casing, so was one to eat with a spoon rather than chopsticks. The liquid had plenty of ginger flavour and a pleasing sour note from the vinegar that worked well with the delicate dumpling (15/20). In case you are wondering how this dish is made, the liquid centre is achieved by setting the meat filling using gelatin, then wrapping the dumpling around a cube of jelly. When the bun is heated the jelly melts and fills the dumpling.
A classic pork and prawn dumpling gained an extra dimension via the addition of excellent pork crackling as a garnish (14/20). Clear shrimp dumpling with sweet chilli sauce and citrus foam was another successful dish, the prawn having good inherent sweetness, the hint of citrus balancing this and the chilli providing an enlivening kick (14/20).
Scallop dumpling with tapioca powder again had good quality shellfish with pleasing sweetness (14/20). Quail egg croquette puff had light texture, served with seaweed (13/20). A new dish was wild mushroom and truffle steamed bun, an unusual variation on the classic steamed bun, the hint of truffle adding a hint of luxury to the taste of the forest (14/20). Another new dish was rabbit and carrot glutinous puff. This was amusingly presented, the rabbit puff having the shape and colour of a carrot on the outside, next to pickled carrot shreds that had quite a punch of vinegar (14/20).
The attention to detail here could be seen in a wasabi prawn dish that featured freshly grated wasabi root. The latter has a lovely creamy texture and tastes completely different to the one-dimensional bite of the “wasabi” (actually coloured horseradish and mustard) used in most UK restaurants. Many supposedly high-end Japanese places in London use fake wasabi in place of the real stuff, which is hard to grow and expensive, yet this unassuming Chinese restaurant in Victoria uses the real McCoy. The prawn was again of good quality and the wasabi with its silky texture and gentle kick was lovely (15/20).
My meal ended with a sugar coated roast pork bun, an interesting use of sweetness with a savoury dish that worked effectively (14/20). Service was efficient, the dishes appearing in quick succession. The bill came to £24 per person with just water and tea to drink, with nine different dishes tried. The restaurant was packed out on a rainy Tuesday lunchtime in January, a testament to the quality of the food here. A Wong is definitely the most interesting Chinese restaurant to have opened in London for years, developing the cuisine rather than just reproducing old favourite dishes.