Tag Archives: Chinese

Wofun – Leamington Spa

If any of my readers remember my fondness for quick, easy, and delicious chinese cafe food from my days in Newcastle, then this post should bring back some memories. We loved the China Town Express in Newcastle upon Tyne, and actually preferred it over more conventional (and expensive!) chinese restaurants, so when we moved down to Leamington Spa my radar was on the lookout for somewhere that could fill the void left by the aforementioned chinese cafe. Then one saturday morning the thud of the letterbox signalled the arrival of a new batch of takeaway leaflets; Usually this results in the traditional ‘throwing in the bin’ routine, but one leaflet caught my eye more than the rest, and that was a menu for a place in Leamington called Wofun. This menu was small and interesting, with limited meals, noodles, and sauces, but combinations could be made to create the perfect meal….and all at a perfect price! We decided to visit this restaurant rather than order takeaway and were pleasantly surprised by a light and airy venue with helpful staff.  

wofun_chicken

I started with the Crispy Chicken and what a choice that was – I would have paid twice the price for this crispy meaty wonder which was lovely and light and a nice fresh salad on the side to compliment a very tasty starter, yum!

wofun_pork_cutlet

Mr Gourmand started with the Pork Cutlet, and boy was he happy with his choice. Again the coating was lovely and light and to be honest, the pictures say it all. A very filling and quite amazingly priced starter.

wofun_wonton

Mini Gourmand picked the wontons which myself and Mr Gourmand guessed she would. This little girl has a real soft spot for crispy wontons and the speed that she gobbled them up is testament to how much she enjoyed these little crispy wonders! So three good choices then, now for the mains!

wofun_duck

Mini Gourmand decided to have the Roast Duck with teryaki sauce. Just look at this one. I cant believe there could be a reader out there who doesn’t look at this and have to fetch a napkin because they are drooling! I’m writing this and actually looking at the clock in the bottom right of the screen to see if there is time to pop out to grab a takeaway myself. There was so much beautiful succulent duck and the crispy skin and soft noodles were a perfect combination.

wofun_mixed_meat

Mr Gourmand went for the Mixed Meat mixing dish with a light and delicate sauce. A delicious combo of pork, chicken and just look at the size of those king prawns! Mr Gourmand went for a boiled rice which he thinks is always the best choice with chinese food. Personally I like fried rice, but, his choice!

wofun_beef

I have eaten the Beef with ho fun noodles on a few occasions and sampling this dish at a new venue was a great test – I am rarely disappointed with a dish like this and once again I am happy to say it came up trumps. The beef was very delicately seasoned with a delicious sauce and a great choice with those lovely thick noodles…checked the time again, no, mustn’t, one last check, no surely I can’t. maybe tomorrow if I behave myself!

Wofun can be found at 21 Regent Grove, Town Centre, Leamington Spa CV32 4NN



Hei Hei – Newcastle upon Tyne

Hei Hei is situated at 46 Dean Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, it’s a blink and you will miss it kind of restaurant but definitely worth looking out for.

We visited Hei Hei during happy hour which offers 1 course for £5.50 or 2 courses for £7.50, of course we opted for the 2 courses.

We arrived at Hei Hei just as it had opened for evening service meaning we were the only people in the restaurant, this soon changed and by the time we had finished our meal the restaurant was half full with diners.

I started with Crispy Wantons which were filled with minced prawns, served with sweet and sour sauce.  The Wantons were perfectly filled and cooked to perfection.  Mr Gourmand managed to steal a Wanton from me as the crispy prawn parcels proved to be too tempting to resist.

Mr Gourmand’s starter was the Hot and Sour soup which was filled to the brim with shrimp, pork, bean curd, green peas, chinese mushrooms and red chilli.  Mr Gourmand has had numerous bowls of Hot and Sour soup in various restaurants before which have all been fairly similar, he couldn’t quite put his finger on what was different about this bowl of soup.

Both of us left clean plates after our starters and Mr Gourmand admitted that his soup had filled him up more than expected.

I chose the King Prawn with Salt and Peppercorn spices for my main course, this was cooked with onions and peppers and served with a portion of fragrant steamed rice.  When I first saw the dish I was worried that it wouldn’t be filling but the amount of rice was actually deceiving and once I started eating it I soon realised that I was going to be very full.  The spices used complemented each other well and the heat was just right for my palate.

Mr Gourmand picked the Chonqin diced spring chicken with sichuan pepper and dried chilli lantern peppers.  Mr Gourmand hadn’t realised that the dish would be deep fried and was slightly worried that the dish would be very dry to eat.  The chicken was tender and moist and tasted delicious with the hot spices.  This is not a dish for the faint hearted and was actually the hottest dish on the happy hour menu.

I would not hesitate to return to Hei Hei during happy hour, if you’re ever on Dean Street in Newcastle upon Tyne between 12.00 – 2.00pm or 5.15 – 6.30pm I urge you to try it out for yourself.



Laus 202 – Newcastle

Laus 202 is situated at 92-98 Newgate Street in Newcastle upon Tyne.  Chinese buffet restaurants are not really somewhere we would visit in Newcastle as the majority are quite poor when it comes to the variety and quality of the food on offer, I’d heard some good reviews from friends about Laus 202 and decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.

 The Sunrise buffet is available between 11.30 – 5.00pm and costs £7.90

The Sunset hour buffet is available between 5.00 – 6.00pm and costs £11.00

The Sunset buffet is available between 6.00 – 10.30pm and costs £13.00

What makes Laus 202 different from other buffets is the fact sushi is served, the sushi isn’t the best I’ve ever had but it’s edible.

Soup is usually standard at all buffets, what’s nice about the sweetcorn soup at Laus is the lack of salt in the soup.  I’ve been to some restaurants before where it tasted like a bucket of salt had been placed in the soup making it inedible.

The usual fried starters are available such as Seaweed, Spring Rolls, Won Tons, Prawn Toast and Samosas and a selection of dipping sauces are on offer.

Mr Gourmand and Mini Gourmand are massive rib lovers and there is a selection available to choose from at Laus 202 rather than just the usual BBQ.

Chinese buffet food on a plate never looks appetising when it’s someone elses but every dish that was sampled was very tasty and the sauces were thick rather than the usual watered down sauce that you often find at buffets.

Unfortunately during my visit there was no room left for dessert but a full selection is on offer throughout the day.



Chinatown Express – Newcastle upon Tyne

Previous Chinatown Express reviews can be found here and here

Set 2 course lunch served from 12.00 noon to 2.00pm (£5.30)

If you’re a regular reader of Madame Gourmand you will know that on my usual visits to the Chinatown express I would normally opt for the more traditional Chinese meals, on this occasion I decided to go for the express two course lunch which consists of a starter or soup and a main meal served with fried or boiled rice.

Mr Gourmand chose crispy duck spring rolls which come simply wrapped on a plate, well filled but no frills with this dish.

I opted for crispy won tons served with a sweet and sour sauce, again a no frills dish.  I don’t usually eat won tons so it was nice to enjoy the hot crispy treats with the sticky sweet sauce.

For his main course Mr Gourmand had King prawns in satay sauce served with boiled rice which was cooked with a variety of vegetables.  The vegetables were crunchy ,sweet and tasty and complemented the large amount of prawns in the dish.

My main course choice was Vegetable chow mein which does not come with rice.  The noodle dishes at the Chinatown express have always been a favourite of mine and this one did not disappoint.  Noodles were soft and rich and the vegetables still retained their crunch.  Needless to say there was not a morsel left in the bowl.

If you’re keeping to a schedule and need something quick and tasty to eat, the Chinatown express is really your best bet!

The Chinatown Express is situated at 63-65 Stowell Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.



Chinatown Express – Newcastle upon Tyne

As mentioned in a previous blog post here, the Chinatown express is a Gourmand family favourite, it never fails to disappoint whether you choose to dine from the special menu or take a risk on one of the more traditional Chinese meals.  The China Town Express is situated in Newcastle upon Tyne on the corner of Stowel Street opposite Rosies bar.

The Chinatown express is a no frills restaurant where you sit down, order, eat, pay and leave, the staff are always welcoming and happy to explain any dishes that you are unsure about.  If you’re looking for somewhere to go for a long relaxing meal then this is not the place as it gets busy and there is always someone waiting to take your table.

The Tradition Chinese menu is vast and contains interesting and exciting dishes like Shanghai Fried Noodle, Ma Po Bean Curd and Beef Flank Rice.  The usual dishes found on most Chinese restaurant menus can also be found like Chow Mein and Chop Suey.  The restaurant does not serve alcohol but a wide range of hot and cold drinks are available.

On our latest Chinatown express venture, Mr Gourmand opted for the Salt & Pepper Pork Chop Rice (£7.80).  This has been a favourite dish for a number of years now and I’m not going to lie and pretend that I know how this dish is cooked as I honestly don’t, but it my opinion it features several flat pieces of pork, coated in crumb and fried with chili and peppers.  Quite often you are asked if you would like it spicy which results in the dish being sprinkled with what can only be described as crispy spicy sprinkles; you can understand what I meant earlier, I really don’t know how they cook it!  The dish comes on a mountain of boiled rice and is more than enough for two people.

I decided to go for a new dish to the Gourmand palette the Sliced Beef Aubergine Rice (£6.70).  The dish was delicious with a good sized portion of sliced beef, chunky aubergine and diced peppers in a rich gravy, this was again served with a portion of boiled rice and more than enough for two people.  There was no spice to this dish but a mouthful of flavours made up for this.

Although the dishes are a little more pricey than most Chinese restaurants in China town, the sheer volume of food more than makes up for that.  The staff are always happy to package up any leftovers for you to take home which we have done on more than a few occasions!



Chinatown Express – Newcastle upon Tyne

The Chinatown Express is situated at 63-65 Stowell Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.
If you live in or visit Newcastle upon Tyne and love Chinese food then you need to visit the Chinatown Express.  I will admit it’s not the most appealing restaurant from the outside as its rather plain and cheap looking.  You are seated quickly, served quickly and leave quickly and they don’t accept debit or credit cards but once you look past that you are in for some delicious food. It is also worth noting that it’s not a traditional starter followed by a main course type of place either; starters come first, of course, but your main will generally come as soon as it is ready. I always quite enjoy this aspect so don’t let it put you off
The family Gourmand are not one’s to eat the usual sweet and sour, chow mein or curry sauce dishes, we like to be a bit more experimental and this place is fantastic for us.  They not only serve dishes catered for an English palette but also serve traditional dishes and you will find that the restaurant is always filled with Chinese people.
The menu is vast and you can find dishes containing chicken feet, intestines and salted fish.  We have been visiting this establishment for over 5 years now and have never been disappointed.

On our latest visit both myself and Mr Gourmand wanted to try something we’ve not had before so I opted for Dry fried Beef Ho Fun (£6.70) washed down with a Honey Melon Pearl (£3.00).  The Beef tasted like it had been marinated in sherry, it was sweet and succulent and perfectly cooked.  The noodles are 4 times the width of a regular noodle and flat making them rather filling, Mr Gourmand managed a couple of forkfuls but I had to leave some in my bowl.  If you have never tasted a pearl drink you should, they are not to everyone’s taste.  You drink the sweet liquid through a very wide straw and if you’re lucky get a tapioca ball with every mouthful, it’s more of a dessert than a drink as it’s rather filling on its own but I find the sweetness counterbalances the saltiness of the food.

Mr Gourmand often struggles with deciding on the perfect meal when a menu is this large. He mentally chooses a number of dishes pre-order and opts to rely on ‘instinct’ (his description, not mine) when the waiter looks his way. This roughly translates to Mr Gourmand stabbing a finger at the page (similar to picking a winner at the Grand National) and often results in him picking something totally random followed by jealousy of my meal when the dishes are both served. This time was thankfully an exception as he calmly opted for Three kinds of Shredded Meat Fried Noodle (£6.70) and Jasmine Tea (£1.00).  I was only able to taste some of the noodle as the dish contained pork which I don’t eat. First impressions were of how much food there actually was on the plate, a small mountain no less of pork, chicken, Char Sui (marinated pork), spring onions, carrots and bean sprouts all sitting on a mound of soft noodles. As always the flavours were beautifully combined resulting in a very fulfilling lunch that could not be faulted.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you can be sure to find more delicious and appetising food from the Chinatown express featured in many of my upcoming blog posts.