AN EXQUISITE CHINESE JOURNEY

Following the path of a fictional young foodie, Luke Bennett discovered an impressive selection of flavours at Miss Wong.

Located at Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas on the pristine, western coastline of Doha, Miss Wong offers a variety of outstanding Chinese dishes along with a finedining experience that definitely makes the drive from the city worthwhile.

Stepping through the grand, red doors, we were warmly greeted by a smiling hostess who encouraged us to strike a Chinese gong, marking the start of our culinary adventure. The stylish décor along with a scattering of blossom trees pay homage to the restaurant’s Oriental roots. High ceilings, a glass-walled kitchen and the considered use of geometric-patterned partitions develop a spacious yet intimate ambience within the main dining room.

As we were seated at our semi-private table, Hien Lee (the passionate and knowledgeable manager) explained the interesting concept behind the restaurant and its name. Miss Wong is not the name of the head chef; she is a fictional character who travelled across her native land of China exploring and sampling the culinary offerings. From roasting duck in the north to creating hand-pulled noodles in the south, her experiences are reflected within the eclectic menu that celebrates the vast diversity of Chinese cooking techniques, fresh ingredients and exciting spice combinations.

The first appetiser to arrive was an elegantly presented mix of poached chicken breast and thigh surrounded by punchy Szechuan chilli oil. The fibres of the succulent meat melted in my mouth and the heat of the Szechuan chilli was balanced out by the saltiness of the soy sauce that topped the perfectly poached chicken.

Still salivating from the previous dish, an assortment of expertly crafted, steamed dumplings was served by our enthusiastic waiter, Saktan, who kindly took the time to explain each individual parcel. With the removal of the lid, my eyes were instantly drawn towards two colourful and unfamiliar looking options. Firstly, a tender beef dumpling that was encased within a reddish dough achieved with the use of truffles. Followed by a juicy lamb parcel wrapped in a black, squid-ink shell. As you’d expect, there were also the customary chicken, prawn and vegetable options all of which were equally delicious with generous fillings wrapped in soft, moist casings.

Accompanying the intriguing collection of steamed dumplings was a bowl of hot and sour seafood soup with a perfectly crisp, vegetable bon-bon formed into a ‘money bag’ shape to resemble the bags used to carry coins in China’s past. Submerged within the well-balanced broth was a substantial serving of shredded king crab, shrimp, tofu and wood ear mushrooms, all of which brought a different textural element to the dish.

Now to the surprise of the evening, and I am still smiling as I begin to describe the final appetiser. Spectacularly housed within a golden cage to replicate the fishing method was the Double King Bi Fong Soft Crab. Aptly named after a district of Hong Kong that is famed for its seafood, this unforgettable dish is soon to be added to Miss Wong’s menu and I can already see it being a diners’ favourite. The exterior of the crab was flawlessly fried in a light, oil-free, wheat batter that provided a palate-pleasing crunch, and the interior offered soft, succulent pieces of crab meat that retained ideal levels of moisture. The contrast of the crispy exterior and juicy interior was a joy to savour. Elevating this dish even further was a plentiful dusting of fried garlic chips, almond flakes and onions which made for a mouthful of crumbly goodness.

The gentle squeak of a trolley’s wheel signalled the arrival of a highly symbolic dish: Crispy Peking Duck. Li Qiang (the talented and experienced chef) took time out of the kitchen to expertly carve the meat for us while explaining the key aspects of its preparation and finally demonstrating how to roll the perfect pancake. The duck was faultlessly tender and lean with a thin, crispy layer of skin. Red bean sauce offered a rich sweetness, and the surprising addition of melon supplied a harmonising freshness to each bite. As we continued to gleefully roll up the moreish pancakes, another tantalising main course was placed upon our table, stir-fried Wagyu beef – Miss Wong style. Each mouth-watering chunk of beef was wok fried to perfection and lightly smothered in a subtle, black pepper sauce. This dish, once more, emphasised Miss Wong’s use of high-quality produce prepared in a skilful manner. The accompanying wok fried egg rice also deserves a mention due its fluffy and palatable nature and the absence of any residual oil that can often spoil a portion of fried rice.

Like all unforgettable culinary journeys, we ended on a sweet note with a surprising Jasmin Tea Lychee Mousse Cake. The satisfying ‘snap’ of the white chocolate shell revealed a light mousse surrounded by a fresh lychee sorbet that sat atop a crumbly biscuit base. I had no intention of consuming the entire cake, but sometimes you can’t help going back for more.

We both left feeling comfortably full, yet to our relief, we didn’t experience the unpleasant, over-indulgent sensation that you might expect from being lavished with such generous portions of delectable food. I must add that the high standards of food are equally matched by the extremely impressive and professional service from the staff at Miss Wong. Personally, I have never driven that far to dine before, but I would certainly do it again!

For more information and to make a reservation, please call Miss Wong at Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas on 4423 6330.
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