Thursday, 27 May 2010
Tung Fong, Salford
Appearances can be de deceptive!
Getting away from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, I decided to explore Manchester's other Chinese offerings. After staying at the fab Novotel on the outskirts of the city (it has an outdoor pool that I could actually swim in without freezing to death), I was feeling too lethargic (read lazy) to make the trek to Chinatown and explored the leafy suburb of Worsley instead. This is a very picturesque area, home to footballers, rich pensioners and those who opt out of the hustle and bustle of the city. I strolled down a woody lane and into a fairytale village comprising of Tudor-style houses, quaint cottages and a duckpond. What an interesting place, I thought, expecting to find 'old man's pubs' and 'old lady's tearooms'. Instead, there was a trendy tapas and wine bar and the cosiest Chinese I have ever seen!
Tung Fong is chocolate-box pretty, a tudor cottage which looks like a place of historic significance. It looks nothing like a Chinese restaurant- no gaudy dragons, cheap red paint or tacky lanterns; this place simply blends into the village. Stumbling over the original cobbles, I dashed over to the menu excitedly and my checklist of prerequisites were checked! Hot and sour check. Szechuan veg check. Decent coffee check. Good dessert menu check.
Although it looks like a Tudor relic outside, the entrance to the restaurant looks like a 1980s semi complete with migraine carpet. On first impressions, the staff appear surly but during the meal, the service is top notch, they just do away with fake niceties like calling everyone 'love' and saying 'enjoy'. The restaurant itself is quite intimate; dim lights, cosy corners and the room is expertly divided by way of fish tanks and Oriental room dividers.
To start (I have been several times) I have tried both the Veggie Hot and Sour and the Veggie Noodle Soup. The Veggie Noodle Soup is like a meal in itself, chock full of noodles and fresh veg, it is a challenge to eat. The H and S is decent but is not one of my favourites. It is mighty hot and sour, but there are too many Birds Eye peas in it, making it a bit amateurish.
The Szechuan Veg is superb- quality veg and a vindalootastic spicy sauce provides the winning formula. Fresh veg and a fabulous sauce, what more could a vindaloo queen want?
I always ensure I leave room for dessert when I visit here, as their Mango Surprise is so delectable. A work of art, it comprises a mango sorbet garnished with refereshing frozen fruit. Heaven. Dessert is a two- course job here as the staff bring you a thoughtfully-assembled fruit platter. I don't just mean the ubiquitous Chinese orange slices either. The restaurant might be a favourite of Old Trafford's stars, but this doesn't mean the fruit resembles half-time oranges! Instead, diners are treated to melon, grapes and juicy strawberries.
It is always sad to leave Tung Fong at the end of the evening. It is a place that grows on you; the type of place that if walls could talk, it would definitely have a few tales to tell. A far cry from the neon lit Chinatown.