Venue: 筷乐, Woodstock Cafe, 584 Bristol Road, B29 6BE; 0121 249 0968
Choice: Pork wonton (£4) Chooser: Grace Ma, owner and head chef
Chinese new year starts this Saturday, which strikes us as a slam dunking excuse to tell you about our most welcome discovery. Taking over the site of Woodstock Cafe in Selly Oak, 筷乐 broadly translates as happiness, and everything about the experience made us almost smugly grinny. With a multi-luminous menu that changes throughout the day (a number of patrons eat both lunch and dinner at 筷乐), on top of the wontons (obligatory) allow owners Grace and Dennis to do the ordering. Served in a chicken broth with seaweed and shrimp, the steamed pork mince wontons are refreshingly light and addictively tasty. Based on a recipe created by Grace's family, the mince, which sits inside the little parcels of superlatives, is stewed for at least four hours, with a combination of vegetables and herbs being added at strategic moments that chef is not for revealing. Expel any thoughts of the westernised Chinese we've come to think of as normal, this is proper good home-style cooking, evidenced by the queue which forms every lunchtime. You'll find it easier to get a table come the evening and at weekends. Open daily from 12pm until 9pm.
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