Thursday, October 11, 2012

Big Tick For Twing!

When Fish Tales in Grahamstown closed down without warning, I was not particularly happy. Sure, I had been complaining about the number of places for fish in Grahamstown for awhile, but why did my favourite one have to close down? But the disappointment did not last long. Before long, I realised that the loss of one of my favourite restaurants meant the possibility for a new one to take its place.

I have never really considered myself an expert in Asian cuisine. For a long time I avoided some of the more spicy aspects of it and stuck to the regular cashew chicken at pretty much all of the Chinese, Thai and Fusion restaurants that I visited. Of course, going to Korea kind of pushed me into liking both more Asian cuisine and more spicy foods, and so when I returned to Grahamstown, I found the Asian offerings a little lacking. No Chinese, no Vietnamese, no Mongolian. There was one Thai restaurant, but even my beloved Ruan Thai felt a little lacking (not to mention that I don't get to go there nearly often enough). So, when I saw that the new restaurant had reopened over the weekend, I was very keen to find out what it was that they were offering. I knew that it had been taken over by the owners of Twing, the sushi restaurant downstairs, and I had high hopes of Chinese. And, though I wasn't quite right, I wasn't let down either.

Walking up the red walled and black tiled staircase into Twing Wok was a very different experience to the boring white that had adorned Fish Aways. No glass door awaited at the top, instead you entered a wide expanse of red, black and white, all beautifully decorated and incredibly modern feeling. Elegant black metal chairs adorned tables that were scattered around the floor while a couched smoking? room stood to one side. The windows were open letting in the fresh air and the sounds of Peppergrove centre (something that may not be appealing often, but on a wonderfully cool evening after a warm day, is very welcoming). A selection of square lights and mirrors line one wall looking like a work of art and adding to the modern feel of the place. This was a different class to the regular Grahamstown restaurants.

Picking up a menu, I wasn't sure what I was going to go for. There was, of course, the sushi that could be ordered and freshly prepared downstairs, but I was more interested in some of the new items on the menu. Did I want one of their different sounding salads (words like citrus soy and edamame jumping out at me and making my mouth water)? Did I feel like noodles instead, with choices of egg, rice, udon and pad thai flavoured with Japenese, Chinese or Thai sauces? I knew for sure that I was going to be getting some of the dim sum, but which ones would I choose?

In the end I decided to go with a Wok Platter involving four different kinds of dim sum (shared with my lovely friend, Kath), all of which were divine. In fact, divine feels like too mild a description. Delectable might be more apt. There was spinach and cream cheese, chicken and ginger, and prawn and mushroom (all steamed) as well as some fried prawn ones, and I cannot tell you which of them was the best because I thought they were all amazing. Once the starter was complete, our main meals were quickly placed in front of us (no need to wait, which was lovely) and I started on my Chinese (sweet and sour) chicken with egg noodles. Which, I must say, was pretty darn good. I am not a big fan of noodles and would have preferred rice myself, but the sauce was delicious and the meal most enjoyable. Halfway through, I decided to swap with Kath and got to try her Thai beef with rice noodles, which I found to be very tasty and a little more interesting than the sweet and sour, simply because it was a new combination of flavours for me. It was spicy, it was tangy and it was a little sweet. For me it was perfect, for Kath the sweet and sour was the choice of the night. It goes to show - different strokes for different folks. But overall, I found both meals to be great and, to my surprise, quite light on the wallet at only R40.00 each (for the noodles, not the dim sum as well).

My verdict? I think I have a new favourite restaurant in Grahamstown! I can't wait to go there again and try the rest of their menu. Hopefully next time I will have my camera with me too :)