This week-old eatery at Bandra is a must-visit
If you live or work in Bandra West, rejoice. For, the week-old eatery Wok Express gets full marks for its service, cleanliness and footfalls. We walk in at noon on a weekday, and by the time we settle down with our order, the place is packed.
To beat the heat, I cool down with a Pink Guava Ice Tea and a Bubble Tea by Boba — this means, the drink is spiked with milk boba, pearl-milk tea and chewy tapioca balls invented in Taiwan in the ’80s. The gooey balls, which easily enter the wide drinking straw, are chewy and tastless. Although we do get used to them after the first few sips, they cut down the sweetness of the drink.
The Edamame and Truffle Dimsum at Wok Express
Choose your box
There are four steps between your wok and you. First, you choose your base from steamed rice, Udon noodles — which were not available during our visit — flat wheat noodles and ramen noodles (hakka). Next, you choose your toppings. For vegetarians, there’s broccoli, button mushrooms, spring onion, baby corn, Chinese cabbage, onion, pak choy, carrort tofu, zucchini mix, peppers, French beans and cauliflower. Non-vegetarians can add chicken, fish and prawn to the list. In the third step, you choose your sauce from black bean, black pepper, chilli basil, kung pao, ohn khou suey, oyster, pumpkin curry, teriyaki, thai curry, toban (fermented bean) and sambal (pepper garlic).
A wok preparation of steamed rice, and veggies in pumpkin curry and (above) the Wok Express at Bandra
Lastly, we choose the condiments such as crushed peanuts, fried onions, burnt garlic, and chilli flakes.
A wholesome meal
For our vegetarian wok, we opt for steamed rice with broccoli, mushrooms, pak choy and zucchini in pumpkin curry and topped it with crushed nuts, fried onions, burnt garlic and fresh cilantro (Rs 190). While we do not like to waste our food, we pat our bellies mid-way through the medium-sized portion. The pumpkin curry is ever so creamy, which leaves an aftertaste of crunchy nuts, sweetened onions and crunchy veggies.
The generous dollop of the curry keeps the meal moist to the end. We choose two dishes from the non-vegetarian fare — Flat wheat noodles in Burmese Ohn Khou Suey sauce with mushrooms and chicken (Rs 210) and the Rice in Sambal sauce (Rs 240). The first exceeds expectations — a wok is supposed to be a treat to the five senses, and this one awakens a sixth: that of happy memories. The coconut-laden smoky sauce replicates the aroma that we inhaled on a street in Hong Kong while on a trip a long time ago. The chicken is tender and moist, the mushrooms earthy and the entire amalgamation is a match made in heaven.
At most eateries which serve woks, we’ve literally turned the food upside down to ensure that the gravy mixes evenly. The generous quantity of the curry here, on the other hand, is impressive.
Compared to this, which becomes the highlight of our meal, the Rice in Sambal Sauce — a sweet and spicy sauce made of shrimp and fish paste — is a let down. Our fiery buds crave for more pepper and garlic to balance the overtly sweet taste. We return to the Ohn Khao Suey rice for comfort.
Digging into dimsums
We order Edamame and Truffle Dimsum (Rs 250) along with Hargau Prawns Dimsum (Rs 250). Shaped like money bags, the paste of bright green soyabeans mixed with truffle is a creamy affair and we ignore the accompanying sweet chilli, ginger-garlic and soya sauce completely.
However, we dunk the prawn dimsums in sweet chilli sauce, for they are too bland to be eaten alone.
We wish we had ended our meal here, as the dessert, Tab Tim Grob (Rs 100) leaves us confused. Even the person at the counter takes two full seconds to confirm whether it is a drink or dessert. Picture this: crushed ice, rose syrup, waster chestnuts and whipped cream. While a good version of this Thai dessert usually has condensed milk and crunchy water chestnuts, the crushed ice kills our joy.
However, when we get up to leave, the smile on our face remains intact — for indeed, it is a wok to remember.
The review was conducted anonymously. sunday mid-day pays for its food reviews
At: Wok express Next to Pali Bhavan, Pali Naka, Bandra West
Call: 9833380808/ Order online at www.wokexpress.in