Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Hui Wei, Sheffield

Sometimes I put off blogging coz I don't have the time to write a long essay about the ins and outs of my recent meal. And considering that you won't always have the time to read said ins and outs, I really should get into writing short posts whenever time is short...

So. The other night Gav and I went to Hui Wei as we had a Groupon style voucher. Also we hadn't eaten there for a few years and we wanted to know if it was still as good as we remembered.

The restaurant is situated on Glossop Road (West Street end - why West Street splits into Glossop Road before Hanover Way is a mystery to most of Sheffield - it's piggin annoying too).

When Hui Wei first opened about 8 years ago the decor looked pretty cool and although it's not looking overly battered all these years later (a few scuffed chairs here and there) it can clearly be dated back to the early noughties. No bad thing, as it's still pretty smart and comfortable booths are great for dining with a bit of privacy.

The menu is a mix of British-Chinese dishes and, I am pleased to report, some of the more traditional Chinese dishes. With a little assistance from our waitress (who was incredibly sweet and helpful), we chose starters of hot and sour soup (£3.95) (a favourite of Gav's) and garlic and chilli crispy squid strips (£5.95) (as calamari is an all time favourite of mine).

Hot and sour soup arrived in a huge bowl and although it was packed with enough heat, the sourness wasn't there and I could taste quite a strong tomato flavour in the soup. It also looked like the heat came from chilli powder as we couldn't see any fresh chillies in there; not a problem as such just we like to dare ourselves to eat as many as we can! We mentioned our gripes with the dish to both the waitress and the owners (as they came to chat with us as we finished off our wine in the bar after our meal) and both assured us that they would pass our comments on to the chef, which was good to hear. To be honest, in my experience no two hot and sour soups are the same, and this was probably just one of their not so good batches...

A rather ample serving of squid strips topped with garlic and chilli was delightful. Squid was perfectly cooked; melt in the mouth. But what particularly impressed me was that there was decent batter to rings. This added to the texture, but didn't overpower the softness of the squid, and it also added to the flavour.

For main we looked to the more traditional side of things and went for the sliced belly pork cooked in  traditional Szechuan style (£8.50), aubergine strips in a spicy sauce (£7.50) and XO seafood fried rice (£7.95).

Belly pork came cold; not as bizarre as it sounds and it was really good. Although swimming in chilli, the prok wasn't overly hot (the cool temperature of the meat will have helped there) and when eaten together with the strips of cucumber served with it, it tasted like duck in hoisin sauce! Great, it was a new one on me and one I'd happily have again.

Aubergine was a bit oily, but it was tasty. Again there was heat but it wasn't over the top. The seafood rice was another decent portion with plenty of seafood (squid, king prawns and mussels) in there and although some of the squid was overcooked, we were happy with the dish in terms of value for money. There was good spicing in there and although XO sauce itself was missing it was a tasty side.

We drank a Chilean Savignon Blanc, which, priced nicely at £12.95, meant that we had two bottles (have you noticed how the paragraphs about our mains are significantly shorter than those about our starters?!).

We finished, stuffed, and quite pleased with ourselves. Portion sizes and prices had been spot on, especially for the location. It was also good to see some of the more traditional dishes on the menu and that Hui Wei are catching up with the likes of nearby Orient Express and Three Corners of China, whilst ensuring that the British-Chinese food is still as tasty as ever.

I'm glad we finally went back.

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