This isn't just your standard Asian restaurant, writes Sammy Milton
Whilst you’ve probably heard plenty about Cargo 1 and 2 at Wapping Wharf, it seems it really is the gift that keeps on giving. Woky Ko is the creation of MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen and opened with a bang last October. The restaurant serves an exciting mix of baos, noodles and Asian small plates and has been doing incredibly well for itself – it’s a firm favourite with Bristol food bloggers and Asian food fanatics alike. And although it seems we’re a little late to the party, we couldn’t resist popping in and seeing what they had to offer.
Opening the sliding door to the shipping container on a Wednesday evening (it is strange how quickly we’ve been accustomed to eating in these things), myself and my friend were immediately welcomed into the warm, busy space and were seated quickly. Internally it’s gorgeous – small wooden tables fill the room with coloured paper umbrellas adorning the ceiling.
The menu is a good size – popularised with Asian dishes that you recognise and some that you might not. To kick off, we ordered a portion of the salt and pepper squid with lemon aioli (£5.95) and two of the baos – aubergine and kimchi and Korean-fried chicken and kimchi (both £4.25).
The squid arrived piping hot and springy in its light battered coating. Dusted with chilli and crispy onions, it tasted great and was paired especially well with the lemon aioli. The fluffy bao were fantastic – the aubergine and kimchi was a match made in heaven, and offered an exciting option for those who don’t eat meat, and the fried chicken was pure decadence. Cooked to a fine crisp, the heat of the kimchi added something special.
For her main, my friend ordered aubergine green curry with baby corn, green beans and steamed rice (£9.75). A hearty portion, it arrived steaming and fragrant – and among the finest green curry that we had seen for a while.
The delicate flavours of coconut came through but didn’t overpower the taste and texture of the aubergine, and the rice was cooked perfectly. I tried the braised pork chow mein with star anise infused soy and Asian vegetables (£9.75). Again, a huge portion (I ended up taking the rest home and eating it on the sofa – by no means a bad thing), the egg noodles were fresh and hot with a heavy dousing of the soy. The vegetables were plentiful and added a welcome bite, whilst the pork was flavoursome and oh-so tender.
Despite our protests that we were full, we were served a special salted caramel ice cream bao to share for dessert (£4.25). What a treat! Vanilla ice cream was sandwiched between the two halves of the bao, with a liberal pour of the sweet, salty ice cream on top – it lasted about all of five minutes.
Whilst the service at Woky Ko is incredibly fast (we timed our meal – a record 35 minutes), nothing feels rushed. The staff are polite, funny and attentive. The food is among the freshest I have tasted recently and the relaxed, chatty atmosphere of the restaurant itself is wonderful. You’ll want to linger. Order the salted caramel bao whilst you do.
Unit 7, CARGO
Goal Ferry Steps
Bristol BS1 6WP