HENRY WONG: EXPANDING ON A LEGEND

HENRY WONG: EXPANDING ON A LEGEND

Two new restaurants and more

The team behind Harborne's iconic Henry Wong restaurant are pressing two peddles simultaneously to pull the almost 40-year-old venue (and its new sister sites) into the modern day.

For two weeks now the restaurant has been on Uber Eats, whizzing wonderful Chinese to doorsteps around Brum and on a recent visit there, I was blown away by the quality — the honey pepper king prawn immediately making its way onto my own personal five best dishes in Birmingham list. More on that another time. 

"I'm 32," says co-owner, Zi Wen Boo, who is also behind Thai Classic and Malaya Classic in China Town.  "And I'm taking over a restaurant with 39 years of history. A lot of pressure comes with that but equally a huge amount of pride. It's an institution here in Birmingham, but one that we need to open up to the new world of dining, a world that very much includes delivery."

Their foray into Uber Eats coincides with recent expansions under different brands. Zi Wen Boo and Jeremy Mun launched The Thai Classic a year ago, before following that up with Malaya Classic, in February.

"Customer habits have changed, so we need to be able to offer quality menus in-house, as always, but also through Uber Eats. And that goes not just for Henry Wong, but Thai Classic and Malaya Classic. Our offering, our packaging and our prices hopefully reflect that we care about getting our food out there as best as it can possibly arrive, as well as welcoming people in, like we always have and always will.

THE THAI CLASSIC
The most intimate of their venues, it has just 44 covers which adds to the warmth. It's a neighbourhood restaurant-feel, but in the city centre. "You feel like a family is serving you" says Zi. "Being small is a strength, not a weakness. The chef will come out and introduce the food to you — it's that sort of place. And it's a reassuringly short menu. If you're feeling brave, we have a separate menu of our most authentic Thai dishes, they're rare to find anywhere elsewhere in the UK. It's mainly for our numerous Thai guests, who are used to the heat, but anyone can, of course, order of from it. 

WebsiteUber Eats


MALAYA CLASSIC
"We have a lot more space here," says Zi. "People arrive with buggies and entire families. The restaurant is over two floors, with two private dining rooms. Our signature dish is Nasi Goreng Kampung — a fried chicken and rice dish — and I'd recommend it if you're visiting us for the first time, and it travels well too, if you're ordering in. I'm Malaysian myself — Malaysia is a Muslim country and yet it's rare to find a Halal Malaysian restaurant in the UK. Well, this is. And in Birmingham if you're ordering Malaysian food, chances are it's Chinese Malaysian. Not here. Here it's Malay-Malaysian. The real deal. 

WebsiteUber Eats


HENRY WONG
And finally Henry Wong. It doesn't get the flowers it deserves in terms of what it has done in the Brum food community for the best part of four decades. A trailblazer that has perhaps been guilty of treading water until recent years, there's a new life and soul to it. It has its older customers, of course. They've kept it in business for donkeys and are valued. But now there's a younger crew cottoning on to the brilliance. Sure it's probably a special occasion kind of a place but, by god, when the food arrives you realise how cloying some Chinese deliveries can be. 

WebsiteUber Eats


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