After the excesses of Christmas, many of you will have emerged blinking into the New Year full of staunch resolutions to stop drinking alcohol, deny yourselves meat, run every day and generally have a miserable and sanctimonious January. We know that our willpower isn’t as reliable as yours so we haven’t even bothered to give anything up, knowing we’d fall off the wagon at the first sniff of a prosecco cork or rasher of bacon.
It seems that we are actually not alone. By the third Friday of the month, the phone at Ryde’s Bizzy Wok was almost permanently engaged as people, fed up with living off lettuce, climbed back aboard the takeaway train for a traditional Chinese supper. We got through on the third attempt and, too hungry to wait the hour for delivery, popped up to the counter to collect our supper.
Matt admired the glossy-leaved succulents in the Bizzy Wok reception and was soon in possession of set menu D (for three) plus some bonus dishes and a chef’s platter which, being neighbourly sorts, we took next-door-but-one to share with our chums in the ‘hood.
The bag was full of regulation foil cartons which we dispensed on our neighbour’s vast dining table, as they scuttled about warming plates and polishing their canteen of gold cutlery (fancy schmancy). Wine duly poured and places taken, we divvied up the hors d’oeuvres and popped open the complimentary bag of prawn crackers. The chef’s packed tray offered up four rounds of prawn toast – the right side of moistness without grease; a big pile of crispy seaweed, two aromatic vegetable rolls and a brace of spicy spare ribs garnished with a unusually vibrant combo of chillies, garlic and scallions.
As we unveiled each of the main courses, attractive smells wafted up from the containers; a blast of ginger, fruity pineapple, and the gentle whiff of sweet plum sauce. We each palmed one of the copious supply of thin pancakes and, inside a parcel of foil, we found duck meat, crisped and shredded for our pleasure. We ladled it into the floppy pancakes and bound the meat with the sticky plum sauce, adding cucumber and spring onions to taste. As no dusky maidens were available we could have rolled the pancakes between our own unhygienic thighs, although in the end perhaps unsurprisingly we all chose to use our fingers to make a duck ‘cigar’. Lean and fruity, the duck pancakes made a great entrée to the main course.
Chef’s platter £8
Set menu D (for three) £38.50
Fried chicken with ginger and pineapple £5.70
Extra egg fried rice £2.30
Total: £54.50 for four diners
We helped ourselves to the other dishes, using the glorious golden spoons to serve them up onto beds of egg-fried and yeung chow rice. The deep-fried shredded beef was standard stuff but good with it; it’s hard to go wrong with this classic (although we have had it chewy and stick-like in another restaurant). There was no scrimping on the shellfish in the king prawn and mushroom carton; the succulent ingredients were plentiful and tasty in a thick gravy. Likewise the chicken in yellow bean sauce was meaty, with a good helping of corresponding onions and more carrots – this time crinkle cut, not julienne like in the shredded beef. The stand-out dish was our last-minute addition, picked to bulk out the set menu; fried chicken with ginger and pineapple. It was simple, and that was good. Big, hot chunks of ginger and pineapple were soft enough to eat, yet still filled the generous portions of chicken with a gingery hit and sweet flavour.
We polished off the takeaway; hardly any was left for a guilty breakfast. The food was hot, fresh and enjoyable – not too greasy or watery, and with the set menu deal it came in at a very reasonable £13.65 per head for a hearty feast. As well as a nice meal we earned some brownie points with our neighbours, which almost made up for having kept them up into the early hours on New Year’s Day.
We failed to bring any dessert, but the hosts found a random assortment of soft-scoop ice cream, Baileys chocolate liqueur and Haribo, which we made into a surprisingly passable sundae. It was the sort of thing we’ll probably all be eating come Brexit O’Clock, when the shops have run out of proper puddings and we’re all living on scrumped fruit and random lord knows what in a game of back-of-the-kitchen-cupboard roulette.
Anyway, Bizzy Wok – above average Chinese food, with decent fresh ingredients, some zingy flavours and generous portions. Just one thing – is it called the Bizzy Wok because it’s near Ryde police station?
This is the full-length version of the review that appeared in the Isle of Wight County Press.
- Well-executed versions of classic dishes
- Good value