I first heard of Magic Wok, when I visited then-boyfriend-now-husband M, five years ago in London. A bunch of his friends were due for a dinner together, some flew in from Singapore, Magic Wok was literally right across the street where M stayed, I was at the right place at the right time, and that’s how I came to looooove the food at Magic Wok.
I’ve got to admit that I was very, very unimpressed with the name of this restaurant. I mean, how much more kitsch can you get in an ang moh country, where restaurants are named Mr. Wu, Emperor, Empire, Inn something, Palace something, not unlike badly translated subtitles in a Stephen Chow food movie. But, M and his friends are prolific foodies, so who am I to question their choice for a dinner venue?
It was a good thing I held my tongue. I didn’t have to try hard, really. The good food did a brilliant job in shutting my trap and this is one helluva place to eat without feeling the pinch.
Since then, M and I have made Magic Wok the place to go to when we feel 1) hungry, 2) stressed, 3) cheap or 4) all of the above. It was number 4 for us last week.
We decided to try something different and M ordered steamed prawns with their super addictive soy sauce concoction. I don’t really know what they put in there, but it’s kinda sweet, savoury, spicy, garlic-y, and if you have paid enough visits to Chinese restaurants here, this is the same sauce they serve with steamed scallops. I love that sauce. If you live in London, and you haven’t been to Billingsgate, you will also know that prawns are dwarfed and disgustingly puny here. Having been away from Singapore for almost a year, seeing a large prawn makes me hyperventilate.
Of course, M is healthy and I am not. But I want to be, so I had my share of greens, our usual choice of kai lan stir-fried in garlic. I quite like it.
And….this is the very drug that placates us, what we always come for. Roast duck. Tender, succulent, moist, fatty enough, very seductive with its reddish-brown skin and trumps Four Seasons, hands down. I’m not kidding. There’s nothing quite like sinking your angst-ridden teeth into a piece of Magic Wok’s roast duck, nestled lovingly in a mouthful of hot, fluffy rice, and then thinking that life is actually going to be okay. I think that’s where the Magic is, to make M and I feel better on a bad day.
Have I also mentioned that Jimmy Choo (yes that famous shoe guy!) was eating at a table next to ours on one occasion, and from his conversation with the manager, we knew that he was a regular. If a roast duck from Magic Wok is fit for him, it can’t be too shabby, can it?
Magic Wok is located at:
100 Queensway, London W2 3RR