The original Wings was in Cheadle Hulme and I remember good Cantonese food there. But, in spite of it moving to the city centre some years ago, this is the first time we’ve been to the new place. They didn’t get off to the best of starts with me – the website describes them as being “one of the very few 5 star restaurants in Manchester”. Without any attribution, this can only be their own bit of meaningless puffery. However, once you get yourself past that, you find that you’ve got a very elegant restaurant, with excellent staff and a good looking menu that, unlike the identikit places in Chinatown, manages to keep the offerings down to only few pages. Oh, yes, and the food’s bloody good.
There’s prawn crackers to nibble on with an aperitif and a couple of nice things to dip them into – one a sweet soy mix and the other a very poky thick chilli affair.
We kicked off with a couple of mixed dim sum platters. One offering steamed items – the more obvious har kau and sui mai along with a lovely scallop dumpling and chei chow fun kor ( I had to look that one up afterwards to find it’s a meat and nut dumpling). The other plate was more suited to my partner’s vegetarian leanings whenever she’s in an east asian place – and was the better of the two. There was a mix of steamed dumplings with a couple of fried items so texture was more interesting.
Unusually, she chose a meat main course – crispy chilli shredded fillet steak. A lovely dish with thin strips of steak and a touch of a sweetish, chilli sauce clinging to the meat, much as a toffee apple gets its crispness from the sweet coating.
I was intrigued by the Hakka yam and belly pork hotpot, apparently a well known traditional dish of the Hakka people in Guangdong. Truth be told, I wasn’t that keen on it. Certainly the pork was good and the sauce was good. But it was the yam that let it down for – somewhat bland and a very soft texture that easily fell off the chop sticks and ended up dissolving into the sauce, turning it into something of a sludge,. Maybe that’s what’s supposed to happen.
We took a side order of vegetables in garlic sauce. Nice crisp pak choy but insufficient garlic sauce to make it zing. Needless to say, rice was good.
Unlike many of the places in Chinatown, there were no Chinese folk eating. I guess ethnic diners are not what Wings is about. Doesnt mean that there isn’t good food there. Doesn’t mean that at all. I reckon this is probably the best Cantonese in the city centre – in my opinion, of course.