Updated: May 5, 2020
This is going to be a food review with a twist (of lime). Not long before lockdown commenced and resigned us all to our dining rooms, I had been encouraged by a chef friend to review a local, independent restaurant owned by his pal, Saranya. I jumped at the idea, partly because the cuisine was Asian and as well as having a bottomless-pitted penchant for Thai food, I had just returned from six weeks trekking around the golden triangle. On returning from Bangkok, a short-lived hiatus from World cuisine was replaced by deep cravings for cheese and pickle butties and Yorkshire tea tannins. Then week two of exile came, my palate was refreshed, and it transpired that the restaurant was in fact a top-notch takeaway, but not to worry; takeaways are what we look forward to now in Brighton instead of our lazy lunches in The Lanes or our Friday night push-the-boat-out bistros. These challenging times throw up innovative ideas; so, here’s a restaurant review of a takeaway, and an article focussed on food which drifts into discussing topics entirely non-food related.
MyWok is an independent enterprise, which was established in 2017 and sits on the bustling stretch of Queens Road heading down towards the Clock Tower, nestled alongside local pubs such as the Hope and Ruin and the newly refurbished Quadrant. Founder Saranya breaks down their ethos: “I have always been passionate about Pan-Asian cuisine, and I decided to open MyWok as a new platform for Asian food, unlike anywhere else in Brighton. We serve popular dishes from all over Asia: Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and more.” Because words are a straight swap for food in cases like this, I always ask the chefs to choose the grub - whilst keeping in mind the vegetarianism in our house (although I still eat fish). Out came Veggie Indian samosas, as perfectly crispy and dippable as you could wish for. The two main dishes were Prawn Pad Thai (an old favourite of mine) and a Vegan Hot-Box. The Hot-Box, ingredients living up to the snazzy name, was all chilli, cashews, greens and wheat noodles. The Pad Thai was heavy with fat pieces of seafood and alive with those comforting subtle Thai flavours we always default back to. I could’ve conceivably been back on a quiet beach on Koh Phi Phi or Krabi.
With both dishes, the noodles Medussaed on down forever into the box, allowing for left-overs and midnight seconds. All of this had been prepared just minutes before our drag back up the punishing Seven Dials hills to home, behind a busy open kitchen which will hopefully be visible to hungry eyes again soon. Saranya adds: “During this crisis we are upholding the highest standards possible and keeping our business running. Our service is still available through Deliveroo and Dinner2go - contact-free deliveries, of course.” Back to our meal: now full and plump, we dropped our chopsticks as quickly as we loosened our zippers. Incidentally, the Silk Road fortune cookie that was at the bottom of the bag when we got home happened to be empty. The packet was puffed out but totally hollow. The only small blip in an otherwise flawless rattlebag of Asian treats. That vacuum said more about the times we’re living in now than any printed platitude that we could’ve chanced upon; the absence of a sugary snack to snap and a proverb to crack left us with time to muse upon one of our own. Here’s mine ‘These times will pass, and back to the local takeaway you shall go.’