Johnny Wong's has recently opened in a row of shops on the busy Three Shires Oak Road in Bearwood, near to the junction with Bearwood Road, writes Adam Burling.
Where is it? The restaurant has recently opened in a row of shops on the busy Three Shires Oak Road in Bearwood, near to the junction with Bearwood Road, writes Adam Burling.
On the face of it, it may not seem like the ideal location, as shoppers heading down the high street could easily miss it. But there is a real demand for a good quality Chinese restaurant in the area and drinkers heading to and from the landmark Bear Tavern across the road would be tempted to pop in for a snack.
So is it mainly popular with people on their way home from the pub?
Not at all, in fact it would be a great place to take friends or family at lunch, dinner or late at night. The intimate surroundings are a refreshing change to some of the louder and larger restaurants nearby but the layout of the tables ensures that you do not feel too close to other customers and can still enjoy a quiet conversation without hearing everything the next table has to say.
It offers the classic Chinese restaurant fare of all you can eat for £14.95 but there is plenty more to it than this, and you could just as easily pop in for lunch. The combination of both Chinese and Malaysian dishes gives the menu plenty of variety.
Isn’t there another Johnny Wongs restaurant in Edgbaston?
Yes, there is one in Hagley Road near the Ivy Bush pub. That one is much larger and has more of a classic restaurant feel, whereas this is far more relaxed.
The new place is obviously proving popular already, although, as takeaways were flying out of the front door throughout our time there. It’s previous incarnation as a Mexican cafe bar did not last long but I think the bosses are on to a winner here.
It seems to tick all the right boxes so far – what about the food?
The atmosphere and decor would mean nothing if the food was bad, but I’m glad to say our meals were superb.
The all you can eat offer was tempting but, instead of the usual buffet set up, you choose as many dishes as you like from a huge menu and then you are bought them in stages.
This is a great idea but only really works if everyone at the table is doing the same. My wife found it a bit daunting, so we decided to go for standard portions instead.
The old favourite of shredded duck with pancakes and Hoi Sin sauce (£7.95) never fails as a starter but this was among the best we have ever had. Sometimes main courses at Chinese restaurants can taste bland and artificial, but you can tell the ingredients here are top quality.
The satay chicken (£6.50) had a delicious peanut flavour to its thick sauce, while the batter on my wife’s tangy Cointreau flavoured chicken (£7.00) was deliciously crispy.
Sounds like it’s worth travelling to then?
Definitely. This is not just a restaurant for locals – it may not be in a prime location but it would be hard to find a better Chinese restaurant in the surrounding area. Parking can be a bit of a problem outside on the main road but it is a small price to pay. We will definitely be returning.
Johnny Wongs Chinese and Malaysian Restaurant, 106A Three Shires Oak Road, Bearwood, B67 5BT
Tel: 0121 429 3838