Henry Wong has been a Harborne institution as long as I can remember. It’s been there on Harborne High Street in Birmingham serving Chinese that’s always been a cut above your average. Over more recent years though it’s had a renaissance and now serves exciting Chinese food produced from the best ingredients, often local ones. Not only that, but it’s become somewhere to spend the whole evening. Your table is yours for the evening, you can get a drink at the bar before or after dinner and it’s got a lovely, modern decor. Three nights a week there’s live music too, but not the sort that gets in the way of your meal, rather music that enhances the mood and the atmosphere.
I was really keen to try the Trio King Prawns, I was particularly intrigued to see how the wasabi cream worked. I associate wasabi with Japanese rather than Chinese cuisine. Serving the prawns with Red Slate Dry Riesling was an excellent choice and the dryness of the wine perfectly complimented the strongly flavoured prawns.
Lobster and Spare Ribs in Chilli and Pepper was a dish I eagerly awaited as I love both lobster and spare ribs. I wasn’t disappointed and the combination. I think lobster needs to be paired with strong flavours to bring out the best in it, but the danger is that those flavours will overwhelm it. But, no mistakes here, the seasoning was finely balanced. This dish was served with the fruity, spicy Pinot Noir Joseph Drouhin.
Next up with the mains of Long Horn Sirloin Steak in Teriyaki and Seabass with Sweet Chilli Sauce. The robust meaty flavours of both the steak and the sea bass can easily take a strongly flavoured sauce so the teriyaki and sweet chilli make ideal accompaniments. The complex flavours of the steak and teriyaki were teamed with the Smoking Loon Old Zinfandel with its fruity undertones. For the seabass Henry Wong’s matched it with the Cousino Macul Sauvignon Gris, which was nicely refreshing and had the right citrusy notes to show off the fish.
Dessert was quite bravely kept simple: Mixed Fritter served with fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream. After the richness of the earlier dishes, it was very refreshing to have the acidity and the sweetness of the fruit. This was served with Laurent-Perrier Demi-Sec which is also a lovely way to end a meal.
Will I be going back to Henry Wong? Most certainly, in fact I’m planning on taking the family.
Photographs by Jan Sansi.