Harley Young enjoys a comforting lunch at the Chester Road spot

What: Turtley Wok

Where: Chester Road, Stretford

Food/drink type: Lunch, dinner, street food

When: Wednesday to Sunday 12-8pm 

Independent or chain: Independent

2024 02 13 Turtley Wok Outside
Outside Turtley Wok Image: Confidentials


Sandwiched between a disused takeaway and Gorse Hill Pharmacy on Chester Road, I wondered whether this spot could be a diamond in the rough. 

Turtley Wok's walls are adorned with wooden cladding and geometric wallpaper. The dining area, which takes up the entire venue more-or-less, consists of wooden benches and steel chairs that are tightly packed together, allowing enough space for around 18-to-20 covers. It’s snug and there’s not all that much room to move about, but it’s cosy and inviting - not claustrophobic. 

2024 02 13 Turtley Wok Inside
Inside Turtley Wok Image: Confidentials

A handful of posters, trinkets and sweet turtle toys sat by the counter caught my eye, along with a fitting turtle shell-print bell for letting staff know you’ve arrived if they’re busy in the kitchen prepping food. 

Already bustling with customers, the door swung open again and another pair of diners walked in before we’d even taken our seats. Clearly a popular spot.

2024 02 13 Turtley Wok Turtles
Turtle decorations Image: Confidentials

The main event

Dave ordered the build-your-own soup dish, made up of the signature Mala sour spicy base, lo shui beef shin, mooli and vermicelli noodles (£11), paired with a cup of hot lemon tea (£3).

Served in a yellow bowl with a matching ramen spoon, the dish was fragrant, plentiful and easy on the eye. Slightly spicy but not the 'blow-your-head-off' type, the beef shin was cut thick and must have been stewing for a while as it had soaked up lots of the seasoning and spices. He described the soup as warming and "perfect for this time of year". 

2024 02 13 Turtley Wok Soup
Build-your-own soup Image: Confidentials

I ordered the sour spicy chicken chow mein (£12.50) from the ‘mains & sides’ menu with an iced milk tea (£3). 

Plenty of chicken, served both in large chunks and minced, alongside egg noodles, beansprouts, chillies, spring onions and a few sprigs of coriander was all thoroughly doused in the sour-spicy dressing creating a thick, tarry sauce with lots of umami flavour. The sauce had anise-like properties with just enough spice to make your tongue tingle, but not so much that your whole mouth was on fire.  

Unlike my boyfriend’s meal, this dish was served in a cardboard container, which was actually quite convenient as the portion sizes were generous enough to deal up a second helping from later.

2024 02 13 Turtley Wok Chow Mein
Sour spicy chicken chow mein Image: Confidentials

Judgement day

Turtley Wok is a neat little find a short way out of the city centre. The staff are wonderful and the restaurant itself has character in abundance, proving there’s not always a need to go OTT on decorations or fancy furniture or kitchenware. Let the food speak for itself, right?

Tables fill up quickly due to the limited capacity of the venue (and undoubtedly the good quality food, too) so head down early or either side of peak times to avoid disappointment.

Turtley Wok, 876 Chester Rd, Stretford, Manchester M32 0PA

Follow Harley Young on X @Harley__Young

The scores

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, and ALWAYS paid for by Confidentials.com and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.

If you want to see the receipt as proof this magazine paid for the meal then a copy will be available upon request. Or maybe ask the restaurant.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their type. What we mean by this is a restaurant which aspires to be fine dining is measured against other fine dining restaurants, a mid-range restaurant against other mid-range restaurants, a pizzeria against other pizzerias, a teashop against other teashops, a KFC against the contents of your bin. You get the message.

Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?

  • Food 7/10

    Build-your-own soup 7, chicken chow mein 7

  • Ambience 4/5

  • Service 4/5