Emperor’s Wok

Located at: Hilton Colombo, 2 Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka

Visited on: 16 February, 2022

Emperor’s Wok has been one of the city’s favourite Chinese restaurants for a long time with its tastefully done contemporary interior, and friendly and attentive staff. We headed there for lunch on this particular day, and started off with some refreshing mocktails. I went with the Passion Portion – fresh passion, mint, passion syrup and ginger ale (LKR 388), which was quite uplifting and, to our satisfaction, not too sweet. I also had a sip of Watermelon Spice – jalapeño, watermelon, lime and soda (LKR 388). A rather unique and novel flavour, I must say! The taste of watermelon was rather subtle, while the fragrance and strength of the jalapeño increased with time as it infused further into the liquid.

Watermelon Spice, flanked by two Passion Portions

The Sweet Corn Soup with Seafood (LKR 788), for me, was a winner. It had a perfect viscosity, complimented well by the sweetness of the corn, a generous helping of prawn and other seafood, and a fair amount of egg-drop. Quite enjoyable. The Hot & Sour Soup with Crab Meat (LKR 788) wasn’t far behind, with a nice balance of heat and tartness, and a good bit of crab meat in it, too.

Sweet Corn Soup with Seafood
Hot & Sour Soup with Crab Meat

We also ordered a portion each of Shanghai Pork Dumpling with Black Vinegar & Ginger (LKR 788) and Deep-fried Vegetarian Spring Roll (LKR 688). The dumpling filling was quite tasty with well-seasoned, crunchy yet tender bits of minced pork. It was good to see that the pouch itself was not too thick, and each was seated on a thin slice of carrot. The vegetable spring roll was predominantly mushroom, which gave it a character of its own together with the other finely chopped or grated condiments within.

Shanghai Pork Dumpling with Black Vinegar & Ginger
Deep-fried Vegetarian Spring Roll

One of our mains was Fried Pork Ribs with Crispy Garlic (LKR 1,588). This was really good! A bit of a treat actually, with its crisp, seasoned and spiced batter-fried exterior and equally seasoned meat that came off the rib without much fuss.

We also got Tiger Prawns (3 pieces at LKR 2,888) prepared in Singapore Sweet Chilli Style. This wasn’t quite what we expected and had more of a Thai-style curry vibe than what one would recognise as your conventional Singapore sweet chilli preparation. Perhaps a bit more seasoning would have helped the prawn meat, too. Did it hit the spot? Not quite.

The Morning Glory with Garlic (LKR 688), on the other hand, was quite tasty, and gave the meal a bit of an uplift both in taste and texture. We chose Vegetable Fried Rice (LKR 988) to accompany these dishes. The rice was decent and did its part to provide a medium to bring all the mains together without overpowering any of their flavours.

(clockwise from left) Fried Pork Ribs with Crispy Garlic, Morning Glory with Garlic, Tiger Prawn in Singapore Sweet Chilli Style, accompanied by Vegetable Fried Rice

Unfortunately, the Ginger Crème Brûlée with Berry Compote (LKR 688) failed to impress. To begin with, the portion size was too large to be enjoyed by a single person. The flavour of ginger was there, but taste and texture – not quite.

Ginger Crème Brûlée with Berry Compote

The Sago Pudding with Yellow Mango Puree and Vanilla Ice Cream (LKR 688), in comparison, was better. I would, however, have liked to see an ice cream that’s closer to the flavours of the Far East (such as coconut, red kidney bean, matcha, lychee) rather than the conventional vanilla number.

Sago Pudding with Yellow Mango Purée and Vanilla Ice Cream

Of course, true to tradition, hot bottomless Chinese green tea was offered throughout the meal. As a whole, our lunch stop at Emperor’s Wok was an enjoyable one. Were there a few things that we expected to be different? Yes. But somehow, they did not dampen the overall experience, and managed to leave us mostly satisfied at the end of the meal.

Yummy rating: 4.0 / 5.0

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