Tag Archives: Asian

Chow Time

Chow

11A Woodward Street, Wellington

Blue Cheese Wontons by CelesteReviews

Blue Cheese Wontons

Three words: Blue Cheese Wontons.

They sound so wrong, but by crikey they taste good.

On a recent trip to Wellington, our friends lead us up the cobbled path to the big red door of Chow. Chow is pitched as ‘Fresh Asian’ cuisine with a second premises in Tory.

With five hungry mouths to feed, we shuffled into a booth and ordered a selection of dishes to share.

We inhaled the aforementioned wontons, and ended up ordering two portions of this delicacy to keep everyone was content.

The carnivores at the table enjoyed salt and pepper squid with wasabi mayonnaise ($12), thai fish cakes ($15), chicken satays ($15), and the chang mai chicken red curry broth with noodles ($19).

As per my previous blogs, you’ll remember that Takoyaki Octopus Balls, are one of the husband’s favorite dishes. Chow’s interpretation did not disappoint him.Chow Cuisine by CelesteReviews

Also worth a mention was the Beggars Purse dish, consisting of deep fried pockets of Chinese greens, bamboo, peanuts and mushrooms ($11). These were very tasty, along with the Leek and Ginger Gyoza ($8).

Seven Spice Tofu by CelesteReviews

Seven Spice Tofu

My star dish of the evening was the Seven Spice Tofu ($9). The texture of the tofu was crunchy and devine, and while the spices burnt my lips, he flavour was fantastic and I just could not stop eating them. The word ‘tofu’ tends to scare off a lot of the punters, which means there is always more for me to consume.

One word of warning for those with delicate constitutions – most of the accompanying dipping sauces were very hot and spicy, and not for the faint hearted.

Chow is decorated in a modern industrial theme, with dark wood tables and red booths. The atmosphere is fun and the staff were very friendly, although that may have been the Asahi beers talking (which were a great match with spicy food, by the way).

In a nutshell: A perfectly tasty spot for catching up with friends. I’m hoping they’ll open a branch in Auckland.

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BBQ Master

8 Northcroft Street, Taupo

It was nice to know that not too much has changed in Taupo since we left six months ago. On a recent trip back to the great lake we decided to meet some friends at a new addition to the town’s dining scene – BBQ Master. Now, I didn’t think a BBQ in autumn was really a smart move, and unfortunately, I was right.

The concept: you fill a bowl with your choice of veges and meat, throw a few sauces into the mix, take it to the chef at the hotplate, and he cooks it for you, then repeat as necessary. An all you can eat Asian BBQ.

BBQ Master - Taupo

The first combination you make is really trial and error, and with that experience under your belt, the second attempt can only get better (although one attempt was enough for me). The other thought on the second trip to the BBQ hotplate, was to try everything that didn’t fit into your bowl on the first time around.

My BBQ creation was lovely – courgette, mushrooms, broccoli, pineapple and cashews with satay sauce.  The husband enjoyed a meaty dish of chicken, pork and bacon with chilli oil and satay sauce. Even ‘Miss Doesn’t Do Spicy’ enjoyed her creation of beef, tomatoes, peppers and cashews, and as she put it, “your food is really only as good as your choices, so if you didn’t like your combination, it’s really your fault.” She’s so right, and there are so many choices and combinations to be made.

Vegetarian BBQ Dish

My vegetarian BBQ creation

Along with the ‘make-your-own-bbq’ dish there is also soup, seafood, other Asian dishes (spring rolls, fried rice, a tough and icky looking egg foo yung and noodles) along with other random things like chips and macaroni cheese.

Although the concept of this restaurant is sound, it was the finishing touches that let this restaurant down. Firstly we were greeted at the door by a scummy looking fish tank, complete with fish, but only about a tenth of the water the tank should hold – doesn’t bode well as far as first impressions go.

Throw in an annoying vegetarian (me) that is trying to explain to non-English speaking chefs that I want my food cooked on a clean hotplate that doesn’t have any meat residue from the previous guest (not sure how well that discussion went, although there was lots of smiling).

Then add pretty average service – our plates not being cleared away very quickly, ‘clean’ plates with little bits of ‘something’ still attached to them, and Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ screaming from the sound system, and this probably isn’t a place I’d return to again in a hurry.

Chefs at BBQ Master

The BBQ Masters

Did I mention that the office door was open for public viewing of an absolute mess? Plus the whole family (about 4 generations), were just hanging out at a kitchen table in the open kitchen area, in full view of customers, brushing children’s hair, playing, etc – not really what I’d call a professional eating establishment.

My other gripe was that you don’t actually end up sitting down together with your diner group to eat, as someone is always absent; filling their plate, or waiting in line for their dish to be cooked. It definitely didn’t work for a ‘catch up dinner with friends’.

If you are a big eater, and love your seafood, then you’d probably get your $27 worth of all you can eat, but I was left feeling a little bit ripped off. I can understand that it would be a good choice, however, if you needed a work function venue to feed loads of burley men.

For me the highlight of the evening was the fresh pancakes, straight from the pan onto your plate. I added soft serve ice-cream and chocolate sauce to my dessert – yum. I wonder if I’d eaten several helpings of pancakes, if I would have gotten my money’s worth?

And speaking of money’s worth. Don’t forget to take your Taupo Card, as you get a free fizzy or handle of beer with your main.

In a nutshell: Pretty average. Lacks atmosphere. Think Valentines, but with the ability to choose your own dish.