Henry Wong VIP Vegetarian Dinner

Every time I’ve been to Henry Wong in Harborne I’ve had a fabulous time, and their latest event was no exception. I was invited along to their VIP Vegetarian dinner last week, ahead of National Vegetarian Week in May, to show that their veggie options are just as delicious as the rest of the menu.

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I arrived just before 7 on Wednesday evening to the warmest welcome from Kevin at FU Media and Henry Wong owner Parm Rai, and an exceptional espresso martini.

17a Priti Modi, Chloe Gorman and Chiara Glorioso

Left to Right: Priti Modi, Me, Chiara Glorioso (Big City Radio)

I was joined by presenters Chiara Glorioso and Noreen Khan, fellow food writer Priti Modi, photographer Jas Sansi (who provided the beautiful photos in this post) as well as Lilith and Kevin from FU Media.

14a Chloe Gorman, Lilith Hunt-Sheppard, Noreen Khan and Priti Modi

Left to right: Me, Lilith Hunt-Sheppard (FU Media), Noreen Khan, Priti Modi

We were treated to a varied menu including several of Henry Wong’s best veggie dishes at our own private table.

 

For hors d’oeuvres we had crispy fried won tons, pan fried dumplings, asparagus tempura, chilli & pepper tofu and a cold spinach salad.

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The won tons were presented beautifully with a chive tied around each one so it looked like a little bag of gold. Both the pastry and the veggies inside were crispy and delicious, with no greasiness at all.

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I love pan fried dumplings, they’re one of my favourite Asian dishes, and these were absolutely delicious. The bottom was crispy while the top was steamed and delicate. The veggies inside were tasty and they were so moreish I ended up eating 3 or 4 of them!

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Tempura vegetables is a pretty safe choice in vegetarian catering, but nonetheless the Henry Wong version was done very well. The asparagus was clearly fresh and crisp, the batter was light but what really made these sing was the dipping vinegar served alongside them. The acidity of the vinegar really cut through the batter.

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I have a love hate relationship with tofu. When it’s cooked badly, it’s absolutely disgusting, and if not flavoured well it is completely bland reminding me of a sponge. Luckily, the chef at Henry Wong clearly knows what to do with his tofu. This chilli and pepper version was really good. The outside was fried and crisp, while the inside remained soft and yielding, but not mushy. The salty, garlicky, hot coating from the chilli and pepper gave it a real kick and I enjoyed it immensely. Admittedly, I would have preferred chilli and pepper squid, but that’s beside the point!

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Finally I must mention the spinach salad. I love spinach and eat it regularly, but had never considered wilting it and serving it cold with a dressing. Seasoned with sesame oil and sprinkled with seeds, this salad was really refreshing and was a good accompaniment to lots of fried food.

Onto the starter, we were served Shitake mushroom yuk sung in a lettuce cup.

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I’m not the biggest fan of yuk sung after a bad experience with a takeaway years ago, but this dish really impressed me. The mushrooms were earthy and flavoursome, and there was a lot of texture in the dish with peas, corn, crispy fried rice noodles and of course the crunchy lettuce cup.

Onto our main courses, there were vegetarian versions of dishes I recognised and some I’d never heard of, so I was excited by everything! First up we had Singapore noodles or Shanghai fried rice. I went for Singapore noodles as I love a bit of spice and these didn’t disappoint.

Onto our selection of dishes, I started with something I’d never had before, winter melon wrapped in Chinese leaves.

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The presentation was lovely and clearly had some time taken over it! I wasn’t too sure about the texture of this as the sauce made it a little messy to eat, but the flavour was fresh and clean.

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These honey pepper water chestnuts were a surprise hit with me. I think of water chestnuts as one of those things you throw in a stir fry just for texture, as they don’t taste of much, but in this sweet and spicy coating they were really delicious. The crunch of the chestnut stayed intact after cooking which made them really moreish.

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My favourite dish of the night were these shredded mushrooms in Capital sauce.The mushrooms were coated and fried so they were crisp, then glazed in sweet and spicy Capital sauce, before being sprinkled with nutty sesame seeds. I won’t lie, I had several portions of these mushrooms as they were just so yummy. I must find out how to make this dish, as it was so gorgeous I would happily order it over any meat course on the menu.

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Another dish that surprised me was the mixed vegetables in satay sauce. I’m so used to having chicken satay that I expected this to be a bit of a let down, but the crunchy vegetables and thick, peanutty satay sauce were both really enjoyable. I think it could work even better with chargrilled veggies like asparagus and courgette, but it was very good as it was.

As if we needed any more food, we were treated to 3 desserts, a belgian chocolate truffle, baked Baileys cheesecake and this showstopping fruit platter!

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The selection of fresh fruit was really impressive, with melon, dragonfruit, strawberries, lychees, raspberries and oranges and would have made a beautiful, light dessert as it was.

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The Belgian chocolate truffle was really rich, both in texture and in flavour, not one to have if you’re feeling full as it was totally indulgent!

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The baked Baileys cheesecake was the lighter of the 2 sweet options but had a lovely flavour from the Baileys and a light, creamy texture.

I really enjoyed the entire meal at Henry Wong, and although it’s a total cliche to say so, I didn’t really miss the meat at all. The mushrooms in Capital sauce delivered a meaty texture which I loved, and if I had to pick one dish to recommend out of the menu, it would definitely be that one, whether you’re a vegetarian or not.

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I attended the VIP Vegetarian dinner as a guest of Henry Wong. All my food and drinks were complimentary, many thanks to Parm, Kevin at FU and the team at Henry Wong. All opinions are, as always, my own, and I was under no obligation to give a positive review. The food was just that good!

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