Restaurant review - Wing's Restaurant, Manchester
PUBLISHED: 18:40 14 February 2013 | UPDATED: 22:15 26 February 2013
This Chinese restaurateur moved from his Cheadle Hulme location into a top central Manchester site and famous names like Wayne Rooney, Cheryl Cole and Sharon Osbourne began arriving. Review by Ray King
It was never part of Wing Shing Chus philosophy that, as a mark of authenticity, a Chinese restaurant should be small, lets say homely, and display a rack of golden roasted ducks in the front window.
From the outset of his very successful career as a Manchester restaurateur, Wing set his sights higher preferring the spectacular neon-lit Hong Kong skyline than the hustle and bustle of street level.
Indeed when he moved from his neighbourhood restaurant in Cheadle Hulme into the premises of the former Lincoln Restaurant which itself had been a top-end city centre venue between Albert Square and Deansgate it was that Hong Kong skyline that provided the striking mural, but with its high-rise towers emblazoned with the names of local Manchester businesses. A clever touch that...and an early indication of where Wing saw his clientele coming from.
Wings retained the modern, sleek lines of the Lincoln, but its contemporary Oriental refit made use of brown and beige tones to harmonise with the extensive use of blond wood for screens and partitions. There are also little upholstered tables on which ladies can rest their handbags. No doubt with an astute eye on the rapidly developing Spinningfields complex just across Deansgate as the citys new commercial centre of gravity, Wing created something of a rare bird in Manchester a serious Chinese restaurant that people can linger and do business in. And one for celebrities to celebrate in, not least footballers and their wives and girlfriends, comfortable amid Wings bling.
As the new Chinese Year of the Snake dawns this month, Wings thrives a Michelin Guide stalwart and recently named among the Sunday Times Top 200 Restaurants in the UK - while across the city, Chinatown (quite unlike Londons booming equivalent) appears to be in inexorable decline. Our visit to Wings, on the Saturday before Christmas, found the restaurant buzzing and Wing, in trademark mandarin orange tie, working the tables as if everyone there were an old friend.
Our sixsome was accommodated at a round table in a smart semi-booth. Above us were plates signed by Jamie Redknapp and Joey Barton (in the foyer wed noticed Cheryl Cole and Sharon Osbournes) and Wayne and Coleen Rooneys et al are no doubt in there somewhere. The extensive menu is still overwhelmingly Cantonese, strong on dim sum and is divided into chicken, beef, lamb, duck, seafood etc and there are more than 20 vegetarian choices. The absence of some of Chinatowns more exotic fare, like fish lips, porridge, jellyfish and chickens feet and menu changes to accommodate the tastes of students from Beijing and Shanghai, suggests Wings continues to cater mainly for European guests.
We began with an excellent Asia Pacific Dim Sum platter, rotating dishes of Vietnamese spring rolls, Malaysian skewered chicken, Japanese grilled fish cakes in teriyaki sauce, pan fried Korean dumplings, crispy seaweed and pickled vegetables around on the mid-table lazy Susan; the dumplings and spring rolls turning out to be the stars of the show.
Our main courses shared around with enthusiasm included fleshy, subtly spiced kung po style king prawns, sizzling Cantonese fillet steak spectacularly served on a decorative cast iron griddle and Pak Far roasted duck with prawn meat stuffing. I ordered a couple of starters to come at the same time tip top, perfectly seasoned salt and pepper squid and chili diced duck in a lettuce wrap. All of the dishes including the accompanying, fluffy yeung chow fried rice - were reasonably familiar territory to lovers of Chinese food but fashioned from first class ingredients, attractively presented and efficiently served.
From a serious and extensive selection of wine - kept in two walk-in glass cubicles by the reception desk; the reds being pampered by a humidifier and the whites by climate control to ensure theyre chilled to the optimum temperature we chose that most compatible of wines with oriental food, Alsace Gewrztraminer. The 2009 from Pfaffenheim (27.90), all lychees and spice was perfect, bringing the total bill with gratuity to 80 per couple.
Wings Restaurant, 1 Lincoln Square, Manchester M2 5LN. Tel 0161 834 9000; www.wingsrestaurant.co.uk