I have spent many a lovely night over the years down in Birmingham’s Chinese Quarter at Chung Ying and Chung Ying Garden Restaurants. Sometimes marking the occasion of Chinese New Year or just enjoying time with friends over a quality meal.
Although there are many restaurants in the Chinese Quarter, both Chung Ying outlets really do hold court in the area and have earned themselves a well-respected reputation. Taking the Chung Ying brand half a mile further into the heart of the city centre, owner James Wong has opened Chung Ying Central in the business district on Colmore Row capturing a new clientele.
Upon arrival, warmly welcomed by James and his team, we were shown to our table. The first thing I noticed was how different it was to the décor of the other Chung Ying restaurants, more contemporary bronze & black with a few hints of oriental symbolism but very discreet, as opposed to the vivid reds & golds in the other restaurants. Both appeal to me and I liked seeing this style in comparison.
I had been told about the fabulous cocktails at Chung Ying Central, which incidentally are very popular amongst the post-work crowd, and we decided to sample a couple for ourselves. With a special mixologist on-site, James explained he wants to have that dedicated resource in-situ to manage the cocktail making side of the business. This allows those with only a short amount of time to pop in, have one of their renowned cocktails, yet still be able to sample the Chung Ying ambience and it does brand itself as a Bar & Restaurant thus capturing the drinkers and the diners.
|Year of the Tiger & Year of the Rabbit Cocktails|
Dining with My Carnivourous Husband (MCH), he had the Year of the Rabbit cocktail denoting his year of birth and that was called ‘Fluffy Cottontail’ and consisted of Bombay Sapphire, Cointreau, passoa liqueur and egg white. I had Year of the Tiger which was called a ‘Crouching Tiger Mai Tai’ which consisted of light and dark rum, tropical juices, lime juice and orgeat syrup. We agreed these were a fabulous idea and a great talking point!
|South China Breeze Cocktail|
For my next cocktail, turning to my passion for vodka, I chose a South China Breeze which contained Absolut Mandarin Vodka, pink grapefruit juice, lychee syrup and angostura Bitters. MCH decided to leave the spirits behind and nurturing his love for all things ale, he had the TsingTao beer which is a beer he has from time to time anyway and so he knew he’d enjoy it.
|Chiu Chow Dim Sum|
|Spring Rolls & Fun Gor Dim Sum|
Talking through my allergies with James and the team, they were very accommodating and said that if customers flag in their allergies, they will do their utmost to work round them and provide a meal that suits.
|Vegetarian Yuk Sung|
|Salt & Chilli Spare Ribs|
|King Prawns with Garlic & Fresh Chilli|
|Salt & Pepper Stuffed Aubergines|
|Mango & Lemon Sorbets|
The dessert menu didn’t feature any Chinese delicacies from what I could see, but we opted for lemon and mango sorbet respectively to act as palette cleansers which were a refreshing way to end the meal.We had an early reservation and as our visit drew to an end, the restaurant had filled up with diners replacing those that had finishing dining too. One thing I noted was James went out of his way to personally bid each person goodbye and to thank them for their custom, which I was impressed with.
Overall a lovely, hospitable restaurant, in an elegant setting with staff who are very knowledgeable and who offer a quick service. Plenty of choice available, including a wealth of vegetarian options that can be tailored-made if needs be whether you’re having a banquet or just dim sum with cocktails.
Disclosure: This post has been written following a kind invitation from Chung Ying Central to sample their menu. This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review. For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.