You would be forgiven for thinking that the Wok n Grill at 18 High St in Trumpington was a pub from a distance. Indeed, the old building was once just that, but these days it is home to the sizzling sounds and unmistakable aromas of Anglo-Chinese food - by the trough load. You see, the Wok n Grill is another example of the burgeoning 'All you can eat' Chinese restaurant
Freshly seared Prawns, Chinese leaf, garlic, chillies, spring onion and crisp noodles all expertly concocted with a tangy Szechuan style sauce. Absolutely fantastic!
dining mantra and, from our experience, a very popular one at that.
It was mid-week and raining when we decided to pop in and gorge ourselves on as many examples of the culinary genre of Chinese Takeaway Food as possible. However, 'popping in' was simply not possible.
Somewhat remarkably, considering the weather on this Wednesday night, budding patrons with empty stomachs and a food frenzy on their minds were queuing out of the door, whilst gamely enduring gentle pre-dinner soaking in the process. We joined the queue and, along with out counterparts, strained and rubber-necked to see what all the fuss was about. From within the belly of the long forgotten pub, whose bar is still intact and used for the Japanese Teppanyaki (Pick your own ingredients and have the chef expertly cook them for you. Although, this is not a direct translation), we could see a bustling collection of tables all filled with people brimming their bellies with copious amounts of noodles and dumplings, whilst others milled around the steaming serving trays which were being refilled with alarming frequency. We want to get in quickly; and not just because of the rain.
We are greeted with a fine smile and an efficient whisking to our table for two on the raised level of the restaurant floor, just as it is in the final stages of a good wiping down. This position gives us a good view of the restaurant floor and of what is on offer at the oasis of sustenance which is still surrounded by baying bellies. Not much menu perusal here; just a quick sip of ice-cold Chinese beer and we are off to join the throngs.
Now, before we get onto the food there is one proviso we feel we should mention. Although the restaurant is indeed an all you can eat establishment, there is an eating time limit of two hours from when you sit down and, although we are sure it is not enforced with any real aplomb, it did grate with us slightly; simply because we like to savour our food and soak up an atmosphere - not to mention as many of the native tipples as possible. Anyway, with this fact firmly cast to one side, we set about the business of eating all we could.
The food at the Wok n Grill is thorough Chinese Takeaway fare. This is no bad thing when you are as hungry as an Ox and have just sampled a cold glass of, very reasonably priced, Oriental lager. The restaurant is actually part of a small chain and the food reflects this somewhat. All the Friday night favourites are present; from dry noodles and pork and chicken balls to spare ribs and various morsels cooked in black bean or sweet and sour sauce. The quality is actually very good, particularly when you consider the sheer volume and choice available, and not once did we turn up our noses or wish we had gone to a more 'upmarket' restaurant. Even the Spare Ribs were tender which - when you have had as many Chinese takeaways as we have - can be considered a rare occurrence. If there is an art to 'all you can eat' dining, then we are not sure what it is. Indeed, after two trips to the grazing area, having returned on both occasions with plates piled up high, this diner was well and truly full. However, my partner felt an over-riding compulsion to try the Teppanyaki . How glad we are that she did. Freshly seared Prawns, Chinese leaf, garlic, chillies, spring onion and crisp noodles all expertly concocted with a tangy Szechuan style sauce. Absolutely fantastic! We would recommend this course of action to any diners who aren't die hard takeaway fans and, remember, you can always have both.
Thanks to the two hour time limit, the turn around of tables is pretty quick and there is ample room for the many hungry patrons that visit the Wok n Grill, which is a good thing as they seem to be multiplying almost as fast as the food is devoured. I would recommend booking a table if you are in a party greater than two or are visiting on the weekend and be prepared for a little bit of bobbing and weaving on very busy nights.
Finally, the Chefs at the Wok n Grill are sublime and well it is well worth a visit to their corner if you wish to experience some genuinely fresh food, along with a smidgeon of kitchen theatre. One of them let me in on the secret of using an ultra-high heat to cook on, whilst never over cooking your seafood. A fact that I will not repeat here but, perhaps, you can coax it out of him when you visit.