Overall rating: 3.5/5 – Had a good experience.
Bandra is trending in terms of new restaurants these days, and the Wok Express has been added lately into the list. This location where people – especially restaurant owners – struggle with space limitations never ceases to surprise me with its new and upcoming restaurant endeavors irrespective of the space concerns, surprisingly. Before my actual encounter with Wok express, I got to know about it from social media, and in a nice bit of serendipity, when its PR Ms. Priyam invited me for the restaurant and food review session, I very gladly accepted the invitation. Of course, a new restaurant in Bandra – one of the most lively and energetic places in Mumbai – gets an immediate attention and is hard to go unnoticed.
Wok express – situated at Pali Hill, Bandra West – serves Chinese cuisine, and their main concept revolves around Wok meals. The interesting menu where people can customize their Wok meals and can select from near about 16 different types of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items on the counter is hard to miss and sets this restaurant apart to some extent. The freshness of vegetables is another important aspect; however, the latitude of using as many vegetables – no restriction – in a wok meal is definitely commendable. Of course, the size of your meal box does matter, but you are free to add as many vegetables without any additional cost. While customizing your Wok meal, along with one sauce, you can select any number of condiments instead of one which is a trend with most of the restaurants. The bubble tea and dimsums menus are revised after every few weeks to introduce something new to the customers. The whole idea is to offer very good food at less prices with a casual dining experience. During my visit, the enthusiasm on the faces of young and energetic staff was very evident. The spacious aspect is unbelievable and surreal as per Bandra norms. After opening their first outlet at Pali Hill, their plan is to open two other outlets at Kemps corner and Lokhandwala.
French Vanilla Coffee and Strawberry Ice Tea:
French Vanilla Coffee was heavenly refreshing. I do not indulge myself into beverages, but its novelty was hard to resist. The blend of coffee and vanilla flavours was divine. Being a coffee lover, perhaps I am biased towards this drink, but I found it amazing and flavourful. This is one of their sure-fire items in the menu; hence, do not miss this on your visit.
I liked strawberry ice tea as well, and, again, it was pleasant in taste, but I liked french vanilla coffee much better than this one.
As it sounds, this dumpling almost resembled a crystal in its appearance with the vision of finely chopped vegetables in the stuffing which consisted of carrots, mushrooms, and water chestnuat. I really liked the dumplings along with the crunchiness of the vegetables, and I found the use of water chestnaut very creative. All the aspects – taste, texture, and ingredients – came out really well, and the dish gave an incredible harmony.
Edamame & Truffle dumpling:
The dumplings were visually very appealing and appetising. They were showcased in an intelligent manner, and I liked the overall presentation. The smooth and creamy stuffing of Edamame was good, and the flavour of garlic hits your palate on your first bite. The dumplings had a nice overall flavour, but I felt that it just lacked a pinch of balance in terms of taste as the garlic was over powering. I definitely liked this dumpling; however, with a minor improvement in terms of balance, it can be a very good dish.
This was a tad disappointment in terms of preparation. The bun was sweet and was prepared with the rice flour. It had a stuffing of mushrooms and some vegetables along with the flavor of garlic; however, due to the thick layer of bun, the stuffing of vegetables was very less; hence, I could only taste the sweet bun most of the times. The actual flavor comes with the mixture or the stuffing which the cook puts in a bun, but, in this case, due to the thick layer of the rice flour dough, it was hard to taste the vegetables mixture inside it.
My Wok meal:
My flavorsome wok meal did manage to impress me in both the aspects: preparation and presentation. This scrumptious meal prepared in a khow suey sauce, using Udon noodles and some vegetables, did satiate my craving for a good meal. I loved the vibrancy and the flavors. A pinch of sweetness, spiciness, garnished with cilantro and red chili peppers, it tasted great on my palate, and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. It represented a fun way to sample different flavors and gave a great overall harmony.
Ice Kachang dessert:
A very different dessert made up of ice along with some rose syrup and condensed milk. The flavors were overpowering, and the dessert was too sweet for my tastebuds. People who prefer a strong sweet flavor would definitely like this one, but it is overly sweet for people like me who do not prefer much sweetness.
Service and Ambiance:
As this was a food review session, I would not like to comment on the service aspect for the time being. Based on my experience during my next visit, I will rate this place in terms of service for sure.
As already mentioned, the place is extremely spacious and is an exception as per Bandra norms. The ambiance is quite decent, and the casual dining aspect is beyond the standards. The minimalistic décor is appealing as well.
Value for money: 4/5
The cost of a huge glass of French Vanila Coffee was 70 rupees, and I was absolutely shocked on this aspect. The vegetarian wok meal costs 190 rupees, and the quantity is huge for one person. The quality of the food, the freshness of the ingredients, and the huge portion sizes do bring Wok express as one of the strong contenders in the value for money category; hence, I am going with four out of five. They deserve it.
I had a nice experience during my first encounter, and I will definitely visit this place again for sure.