“ 914 New Chester Road / Wirral CH62 6AU / Merseyside „
There's an old saying that goes something like "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". This was exactly the thought going through my mind when I took a colleague to the deplorable mess of a place that calls itself King Wah. I'd been once before for lunch and the food was rubbish so I'm unsure what on earth I could have been thinking to give it a second go. My colleague Marianne was visiting our factory and had been forced to stay at the nearby Travelodge which has no restaurant so I said I'd take her for dinner. She lives in Germany these days so I let her choose what sort of food she fancied and she picked Chinese. There are two Chinese restaurants on the A41 New Chester Road in Bromborough and there's something sad in my admission that the other one looks even less tempting than the King Wah.
On the plus side at least we found a parking space easily - after eating there, I'm not surprised.
~Not exactly exotic ~
King Wah is a strange place at the end of a rather ugly parade of shops set back from the main road. It has a large, ugly extension on one side. We really should have gone to the Indian just a few doors away which is excellent but if you offer someone a choice, you can't turn round and not let them have it. King Wah really is a bit of a disaster and reminds me of my Auntie June's living room circa 1979. The décor is beyond ugly with shiny, chintzy, flowered wall paper that clashes nicely with the overly busy carpet design. The table cloths are red and yellow and clash with everything. The place is dark and a bit gloomy in a way that can't be reconciled as 'mood lighting unless the intended mood is grumpy and depressed.
The waitress was very sweet but a bit dim and couldn't describe any of the sauces, shrugging and saying "You'd better ask her" and pointing to the oriental lady rushing past. It would be understandable if she'd been a new recruit but I'm pretty sure she was there two and a half years ago when I was last there.
~Even Oliver Twist wouldn't have wanted MORE~
Whilst we got stuck into checking the menu, we ordered a large diet coke and an apple juice and once they'd been delivered, we placed our food order. I (normally) like Chinese soups so I asked for crab meat and sweetcorn soup whilst Marianne ordered spring rolls. From my main I asked for scallops with Szechuan sauce which sounded gorgeous - but sadly wasn't. Marianne opted for a ¼ portion of roast duck with pancakes and all the bits and bobs that go with that. I've never known anyone choose duck for a main course but I think she made a rather wise choice.
My crab meat and sweetcorn tasted of precisely nothing at all. It was just hot, slightly slimy beige goop. I shook salt and pepper on top and then stole some of Marianne's chili sauce and it still tasted of nothing much. The only positive thing I can say was that both dishes were very inexpensive at less than £3 each. Marianne did much better than me with her spring rolls which were large, well stuffed and well cooked. . Round one clearly to Marianne.
If Marianne's duck portion was only a quarter of the bird, then it must have been the size of a swan. It came with sauce, pancakes, fine sticks of cucumber and all the usual bits and bobs and she was more than happy with it. In my meat eating days (about 25 years ago) I loved the taste and texture of duck but came to the conclusion that ducks are for feeding, not eating, and I find the whole idea of eating 'birds' even more freaky than eating sheep or pigs. The duck was apparently lovely though there was no way Marianne was going to get through all of it.
By contrast, my scallops with Szechwan sauce dish was an unmitigated disaster. Even the rice was lumpy and slightly grey in colour with everything sticking together. The sauce was a lurid pinky-orange and tasted sweet and bland. There were a few chili pieces that seemed to have been thrown in as an afterthought because none of their flavour had found its way into the sauce. The scallop slices were such a strange texture that I really wondered if they were some kind of reconstituted or mock scallop. We all know to expect 'crabmeat' in a crabmeat and sweet corn soup to be 'crab stick' and to have never been near a crab. I do however expect a scallop to be a scallop but I really wasn't sure if these were some kind of joke mock scallop because the texture was really wrong and they tasted of nothing at all. The bland sauce and rubbery maybe-scallops were accompanied by large chunks of onions, strips of red and green pepper but that was about all. It really was a waste of money and it wasn't a cheap dish at about a tenner. Round two even more clearly went to Marianne.
~Making a Mint ~
After we'd eaten all we could bear, we had tea and coffee to follow. At least they couldn't mess up hot water and a teabag or an After Eight mint. The only good thing I can say about the food is that I got the crappy dishes and Marianne didn't actually spot quite how rubbish the place was and seemed to be quite content with what we'd had. Undoubtedly it's better that way round than the alternative - I'd rather have a bad meal than take someone somewhere that they hated.
The bill was £32 which wasn't wildly expensive but given the quality of the food, felt like it was very overpriced. Two visits are enough - I really won't give this place a third chance.
914 New Chester Road
Open 5.30 pm to 11 pm every day except Sunday.