Wok and Roll, Wickham Square | Takeaway review

THE Chinese takeaway in Wickham Square has had a chequered recent past, to say the least.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 4:04 pm
Wok & Roll Chinese takeaway in Wickham Square, Wickham.

For several years going under the name Panda, it suffered at the hands of hygiene inspectors, and was closed in September 2019.

Then in its place popped up New Panda – but that didn’t fare too well either. It was deep-cleaned, overhauled, and saw a new manager put in - but closed in August last year.

And now, after lying dormant, a new takeaway has opened, with the brilliant-awful name Wok and Roll. (Although on that front, the Dish Detective doesn’t think anyone anywhere will ever beat Wok’s Wong in Elm Grove, Southsea. Super stuff).

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A meal for two Wok and Roll in Wickham Square.

The first impression it made on the good people of Wickham wasn’t great, if you judge by social media. Opening a fortnight ago, Facebook groups reported tales of long waits, missing orders, and frustration. But the DD doesn’t fuss about stuff on Facebook due to believing it full of nonsense, so decided to give it a crack.

And early impressions… good. We went for a set meal, to be honest because it was easy and quick. We could have ordered on an app – available to download from the Android and Apple stores – but didn’t because the DD needed to check whether any of the dishes contained dairy. There was some uncertainty on the phone, but then a call back within a couple of minutes to confidently confirm no, there was nothing (you’d assume not but always better to check). One word of warning over payment though – it’s cash only, no cards. There’s a machine at the Co-op on the other side of the square but be prepared.

Due to it being Saturday, and boat-pushing-out time, the DD and dining partner went for the most extravagant meal for two, knowing full well that it could feed at least one other person. Lockdown rules meant that we couldn’t be generous with a friend, so leftovers for us it would have to be.

There are a few choices for a two-person meal, from a £20 vegetarian up to the £34 we chose – our choice mainly being based on the fact it came with spring rolls and seaweed. The DD has an enormous affection for Chinese seaweed, partly out of amusement for the attempt to rebrand cabbage, but mainly because when the DD was a nipper in previous, less cosmopolitan times than which we live in now, it was the height of exoticism, the stuff of a once-a-year treat for our parents. Mind you, we didn’t see a mango until after we left home so maybe that’s not saying much.

A takeaway from Wok and Roll in Wickham Square.

So, the £34 meal for two combo also includes Hong Kong-style sweet and sour chicken, king prawn with cashew nuts in yellow bean sauce, beef with spring onion and ginger, special fried rice and hot and spicy vegetables. In our order these were intentionally swapped by the kitchen for Szechuan vegetables.

Let’s be honest, a takeaway such as this isn’t going to reinvent the wheel. It was good, don’t get me wrong. Apart from the hallowed seaweed, my pick of the night was the beef, as it was loaded with ginger. It’s not that it was uncooked but the ginger had a really raw kick to it, giving it a very clean taste. The sweet and sour chicken did what sweet and sour chicken does, and the king prawn and cashew nut had a decent, delicate flavour. The DD is still mystified what people see in king prawns though, unless they actively like rubbery food. The vegetables were a touch of a disappointment; the DD has had some wonderful Szechuan dishes, ones which make you sweat pepper, garlic and chilli for days, but here they were doused in a more sweet than spicy sauce.

But the DD is glad to see an empty unit return to life, and enjoyed the meal immensely. On the whole, you know what you’re getting from a Chinese takeaway these days – it’s unlikely to open up new culinary worlds. And that’s just fine. A familiar treat is still a treat. We wish this venture a better fortune than its ill-starred predecessors. And yes, it looked clean.

Wok and Roll, Wickham Square

01329 833960

Food: 3/5

Value: 3/5