Ruth Allan fights her own children for a bite at Alty's new British-Chinese restaurant
Altrincham’s new Chinese restaurant, WowYauChow, serves takeaway and street food favourites in the heart of the town centre. They’re calling it British Chinese Food (chow mein, sweet and sour chicken, deliciously garlicky potstickers) and it’s such a fun, well executed idea that there will probably be Wows everywhere before you know it.
The restaurant’s founder and MD, Henry Yau, has the credentials at any rate. He ran (until very recently) another venue, Cockadoodlemoo, in Hazel Grove, with another in the pipeline. WowYauChow, however, is his first Chinese restaurant and he’s made an effort to do something a bit different.
They’re gone in about four seconds... and my son refuses to share his ‘Dynamite Prawns’
Furnishings, for example, look to Hong Kong street-food markets for inspiration. There are corrugated iron walls and mismatched chairs. Bold reds run through boughs of flowers and prints by Stan Chow, the acclaimed Chorlton-based artist with a portfolio including The White Stripes and the New Yorker. The result is relaxed yet thought though; the kind of place you can bring the kids or pop into with a mate.
We start with prawn crackers on the tasty side of crisp, and soft bao buns proffering sticky, fall-apart pork belly pork (£4) or sweetly crisp shredded duck (£4.25) to enthusiastic paws. They’re gone in about four seconds. I’ve got no idea why I didn’t order the beef one too.
Unfortunately, my son (five) refuses to share eight ‘Dynamite Prawns’ (£6.50) coated in coconutty crumb, with a dab dish of Sriracha mayo on the side. I have to assume they’re excellent. Crisp-bottomed pork and Chinese leaf potstickers (£4.75) certainly are. Five turn up, proud and porky, on a pool of soy and finely chopped scallions. Once again, I find myself prizing one out of a child’s hand just to get a bite.
Sweet and sour chicken (£6.25) is another hit. This dish is all about the sauce – and this one has sweetness, a hint of garlic and soy and brazen amounts of vinegar. Inside, there are hunks of chicken in satisfying batter, chunks of pineapple and… wait for it… fresh watermelon pieces. If you enjoy balsamic on strawberries, this particular combo will blow your mind.
Of course, with food this intense, you need something to offset the flavour, and the ‘special chow mein’ with prawn, beef and flash-fried veg (£8.50) and beef in black pepper (£6.75) are ideal companion dishes.
In fact, the only things I don’t adore are the ‘Ribs of Fury’ (sweet and sour chilli baby back ribs, £6). They’re a little cool and don’t quite live up to the menu’s hype. Salt and pepper tofu-based ‘Way of the Buddha’ bowl with steamed char siu is missing something somewhere too. The £5.75 price tag compensates, but I’ll go for the belly pork bowl next time.
Pudding is simply ice cream. Flavours like Oreo, lychee, salted caramel and chunky chocolate have you covered, and they’re a very reasonable £1.50 per scoop or £3 for two.
Cocktails, such as a flower-decked lychee martini (£6.95) are serviceable and there’s a short wine and beer list whose main draw is the fact that everything is under £20 a bottle - Prosecco included.
We eat upstairs on the top floor, a mixed bag of twins, adults and an untamed teenager. Given the crayons on the tables, this area is probably designed for larger groups and kids. Wilder diners, let’s say.
But while the restaurant is packed on the night we visit, simply raise an eyebrow and a member of the team is with you. No one seems to mind me taking pictures (something I like in a restaurant, although probably not on everyone’s checklist) and I love the location. So. It’s not big or flashy, but Wow lives up to its name.
59 Stamford New Road, Altrincham WA14 1DS. Tel 0161 928 9931
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Bao buns 8, dynamite prawns 8, potstickers 8, sweet and sour chicken 9, special chow mein 7, beef in black pepper 7, ribs 4, Buddha bowl 5, ice cream 6
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