Sunday, 22 January 2017

Chung Ying Central Winter Menu

I've been to Chung Ying Central several times over the last couple of years and have been consistently impressed. It's part of the Chung Ying group of Cantonese restaurants and is differentiated by the fact that the decoration is more modern and less traditional, it's not in Chinatown and they have a fun cocktail menu. I've written about it before- when I visited for cocktails and Dim Sum and last Spring when there was a Colmore Food Festival event there.

You can quite easily go to Chung Ying Central and have your average Chinese sweet and sour chicken or whatever, but I'd really recommend expanding your horizons and trying something new- that's why I was there this week.

I'd been invited along with some other food bloggers to try some new and/or mysterious items from the current menu.

We started the evening with a Shanghai Rose cocktail (£6.95) which is their best selling cocktail. Made with vodka, lychee liqueur, rose syrup and lychee juice, this is a slightly sweet and floral cocktail. Very very easy to drink. I love the eastern-inspired cocktails they have; they're great fun.

Food time: we started with Sichuan 'Dan Dan' noodles (£7.95) from the lunch menu. This is a bit like ramen- noodles in a tasty broth. I much preferred this to ramen though. There was plenty of pork and prawn topping and the broth had a delicious chilli kick.

Next, Chicken Kaarage with honey and garlic (£5.00) from the winter specials. Chicken Kaarage is fried chicken, popular in Japan and Korea. I've had it before but this version was my favourite.  The chicken thigh had been cut into small bites, coated in a potato flour batter, fried perfectly so the meat was still moist and finally tossed in a mouth-wateringly good sticky sauce. This was my dish of the evening and I had to stop myself gobbling up the whole plate.

Pei Par Tofu is one of those dishes I would never order; I'd just see tofu and assume it wasn't for me. The tofu was silky smooth and stuffed with prawns, which I like. It had been battered but the batter was rather soft so there wasn't the difference in texture I would have expected. This was a tasty plate of food- I especially liked the addition of the pak choi.

Steamed buns filled with pork and vegetables were soft and meaty and delicious. I love char siu buns so it was good to try something similar with a different filling.

Salt and chilli battered prawns were popular with everyone. The prawns were perfectly cooked with a good crunch and a crisp batter. The heat lovers among us were happy to see all that sliced chilli.

To accompany our food, we were served X.O. Lap Cheong Fried Rice, which is sticky rice with egg, veg and Chinese air-dried sausage.

The item that caught everyone's eye on the menu was the Salt and Chilli Stuffed Intestines. It's the sort of thing that is easy to turn your nose up at but really it's a very similar texture to pork belly, with added prawn stuffing. It's very rich and I don't think I could eat it on my own; one to share with an adventurous friend. I quite like trying things like this- we should be eating more parts of animals.

After all that food, there was still dessert to go. I had been drinking the Shanghai Rose cocktail and a taster of a lovely light Tsing Tao beer but I switched to Iron Buddha tea. This is a fragrant and refreshing Oolong tea which I really enjoyed and shall be looking out for in future.

Dessert was a variety of new items and some more unusual choices. I was happy to have steamed caramel buns, similar to the ones I tried last time  but with solid rather than runny caramel. I ate a whole bun and contented myself with a nibble of the other bits on offer. 

If you watched my instagram story you'll have heard my surprise when the caramel wasn't runny! These look a little like eggs and the filling is in fact made with egg yolk. They are not too sweet, but gooey and soft and a great end to a meal.

There were a couple of brownies on offer- triple chocolate and salted caramel. Not what you'd expect from a Chinese restaurant but I suppose a lot of people like to round off a meal with chocolate. The salted caramel one was particularly lovely- a really rich caramel topping off a perfectly squidgy brownie.

Another exciting item from the menu that you might not usually try was pan fried water chestnut paste. I love water chestnuts- they have a great texture and are weirdly refreshing. This was basically a jelly with crunchy bits of water chestnut in, with a caramelised topping. I'd really recommend this dessert for a light and interesting end to your meal.

We were also given a glass of delicious Changyu Golden Diamond dessert wine, rich and sweet and tasting like raisins.

So, don't be shy- get yourself to Chung Ying Central and try something new.

Chung Ying Central

Photos by Helen

Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes. 

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