What excitement! Matt and Cat’s favourite Chinese restaurant has opened a new branch in Newport. Visitors to the Ryde branch will recall how the Hong Kong Express interpretation of a fast-food joint made such an impression on your reviewers: well, now the Hong Kong Express magic has been applied to a town-centre pub. The result is different, but still pleasing.
Matt and Cat slipped into the new venue just a few days after it had opened, late on a chilly Sunday afternoon when every other place in Newport was pulling down the shutters. The venue was quiet, but by no means deserted. They were greeted by the exquisitely polite barman, who seemed to be a restaurant professional struggling gallantly with the instinct to seat his customers and retreat politely, in the style of a restaurant; whilst they were tending to wander randomly up to the bar and chat, in the style of a pub.
The menu is more or less the same as in the other Hong Kong Express branch – good, basic Chinese food – with the significant addition of a large English supplement. Matt selected chicken with cashew nuts and fried rice; Cat set out to test the English dishes, and chose a butterfly chicken burger. The extremely fast production of freshly cooked food at very cheap prices is just as well-advanced in Newport as it is in Ryde: the food arrived before Matt and Cat had finished ogling the lovely decor, stylish lighting and spectacularly tasteful fresh flower arrangements. Both meals were very good. The butterfly chicken was one of the most impressive examples of the genre that either Matt or Cat had ever seen, and Cat, on sampling it, pronounced that it had a subtle Chinese flavour to it. This, when dining in the Hong Kong Express, can only be a good thing.
Once more, the Hong Kong Express has risen to the occasion. The new Newport branch has a more cosmopolitan, city feel to it – as befits its origin as a town pub and cafe bar. However it has brought along all those elements which have so marked out the original fast-food bar in Ryde: excellent fresh food, extremely swift service, and startlingly low prices.
Hong Kong Express, Newport