What: The long-awaited more casual sister restaurant to A Wong has opened in the City’s Bloomberg Arcade. The modern premium casual restaurant seats 120 diners over two floors and features an impressive five-metre high fake cherry blossom tree and a circular bar that can accommodate up to 30 guests.
Who: Chef Andrew Wong of Michelin-starred A Wong in Victoria is the man behind it. He and his business partner Terry Kuet have teamed up with Chris Miller of White Rabbit Fund, which has invested in the project to bring it to life.
The food: The menu is split into small plates, skewers, those to share and classics, as well as sides and fritters, with dishes paying homage to the nay gastronomic regions of China. The range is broad, with a few surprises in the mix. Starters include a huge rice cracker topped with seaweed and served with 1908 ketchup (in reference to the year the first recorded Chinese restaurant opened in London); silken tofu with 100 year old egg; and lemongrass salad with peanuts, chilli and lime; while sharing dishes include pork and shrimp ‘bao bao’ with fried egg - a kind of pot sticker shakshousa - and a Xian City ‘lamb burger’ with pomegranate, sesame and peanuts. The star of the show, however, is the roasted meats (under the classics section) that include Cantonese crispy pork belly (pictured) - pork with a wafer thin crisp skin - with honey mustard; slow poached soy chicken with ginger relish; and Iberico char sui with honey soy. If you can’t choose between them, opt for the ‘three treasure’ plate which, at £20, is a snip.
The vibe: It might be pitched as being more casual than its starred sibling but Kym’s feels pretty upmarket in terms of decor. The room is darkly lit and atmospheric with the open kitchen to the rear of the dining room adding a certain welcome bustle to proceedings. Wong wants takeaway to play a big part of the restaurant and there’s a take out counter next to the open kitchen, although quite where people will queue for their food isn’t immediately obvious.
And another thing: The restaurant was initially going to be called Madame Wong, but a restaurant of that name in Moscow put paid to that. Other ideas mooted include 1908. However, Wong settled on Kym’s, which had been the name of his parents’ restaurant in Victoria that is now A Wong.