Reviews

Sun’s wake up call

Manchester City’s Sun Jihai was woken at 5am to hear about his friend and English translator, Wing Shing Chu’s fund-raising efforts for the Genesis Appeal. But thankfully for the Chinese soccer star, it was at a more civilised hour that Wing invited him over to his Lincoln Square restaurant to hand over a cheque to charity organisers for the £50,000 raised. Wing raised the amount at a Chinese New Year dinner at the venue, at which he donated all the food and drink as well as holding an auction of sports memorabilia, including a city shirt signed by Sun Jihai. But when Wing called to tell of the news Jihai, who was in China at the time, had finished his New Year revelryand was quietly tucked up in bed. He knew I was ringing but when I called he was asleep and couldn’t speak at first. Wing laughs, When he woke up, he wished everyone a happy new year and said hello to all the guests, including his team-mates, Paul Bosvelt and Claudio Reyna, and was really pleased to hear that his shirt had raised £1,500. Quinton Fortune’s wife, Kim, added £3,000 to the total by singing on the night and bookmaker Fred Done’s wife bumped up donations by handing over a cheque for £10,000. The money is to build the first breast cancer prevention centre, which has now been given the go-ahead with two of the rooms being named after W Carmel Thomason

The Diary Manchester Evening News

21st April 2005

Kim's High Note

There was a bit of jesting going on when Kim Fortune, wife of Manchester United star, Quinton Fortune, took to the mic to sing for a charity do at Wing’s Lincoln Square restaurant this week. Guests, who included Manchester City players Claudio Reyna and Paul Bosvelt, tried to cajole her into singing Blue Moon But the joking soon stopped once they heard her sing. Diners stumped-up £1,300 for Kim to sing her first song. The Carpenters’ Yesterday Once More. And, although admitting to be nervous, Kim, who is now working with an independent record label in her home country, South Africa, impressed the Chinese New Year revellers so much that they paid out the same amount again for her to sing another one – but not Blue Moon. The night raised more than £50,000 for the Genesis Appeal, which researches the genetic prevention of breast cancer.

Carmel Thomason The Diary Manchester Evening News

11th February 2005

Let’s eat out

Manchester is not a city with a centre overly endowed with open spaces and amid what little there is, Lincoln Square tends to be one of the least well known. As the location of Manchester’s official memorial to Princess Diana – currently a weed-infested disgrace -you might think Lincoln Square would register on more people’s antennae. But it is President Lincoln’s larger-than-life bronze statue which gets the attention of those passing by for the first time, rather than Diana’s rectangular brick fountain-turned-flowerbed eyesore. At least the low brick walls double as makeshift seats for scores of office workers who relax there with their sandwiches at lunchtime, for this is a traffic-free oasis whose mature trees soften the modern functionality of the surrounding architecture. The surfacing of the square, mid-way down Brazennose Street, once mooted as a grand processional way between town hall and Courts of Justice, however, is pretty cheap ad nasty. Many more people will be noticing it, because Lincoln Square now boasts something unique in the city: al-fresco Chinese food. Newcomer restaurant Wing’s Lincoln Square ahs introduced tables beneath its colonnaded frontage and from noon to 6pm is serving a comprehensive range of top notch dim sum, mostly under £3, classic one-plate rice and noodle dishes, almost all under £10 and snacky light bites which, to their credit, they have resisted calling tapas. The daytime ambience is great, though you’ll have to wait a fortnight or so yet for the alcohol licence to extend outdoors. Our first encounter with Wing’s Lincoln Square, in the evening, gave us a peculiar sense of déjà vu, like looking at the grown up child of parents you’ve known for ages. Its position and major architectural features -like the glass frontage, the modern sculpted ceiling and pillars -are reminders of this venue’s recent incarnation as the Lincoln, which burned brightly for a time as one of Manchester’s top contemporary European restaurants. Now the style and ambience have been completely transformed. The Lincoln’s striking royal blues have been replaced by browns and beiges to harmonise with the extensive use of blond wood for screens and partitions. No doubt with an astute eye on the rapidly developing Spinningfields complex just across Deansgate as the city’s new commercial centre of gravity, Wing’s is something of a rare bird -a serious Chinese restaurant where people can linger over long lunches and do business in. Just how serious a restaurant this aspires to be is evident as soon as one enters. The extensive selection of wine is kept in two walk-in glass cubicles by the reception desk; the reds being pampered by a humidifier and the whites by climate control to ensure they’re chilled to the optimum temperature. The more the merrier, I say, when dining at a Chinese restaurant, you get the chance to dip into a lot more dishes. Wing’s menu is strong on dim sum, with 21 separate items, steamed and fried, and three platters -one labelled “hot and spicy”, another, comprising seafood delicacies -for £5.80 and £6.80 respectively. The list of starters is also impressive, thereafter the menu is divided into chicken, beef, lamb, duck, seafood etc and there are more than 20 vegetarian choices. The absence of some of Chinatown’s more exotic fare, like fish lips, jellyfish and chicken’s feet suggests that the target clientele is European and the price levels point towards the market’s top end. Banquets range from £20.90 to £34.90 per head, this latter including baked lobster and a cavalcade of fish and shellfish. The evening was not, however, without a sense of adventure, for we opted to let the restaurant do the choosing, stipulating only that one of our number didn’t care much for squid, and soon recognising that what was put before us bore only passing acquaintance with the regular menu. Soon the engraved glass “lazy Susan” turntable was loaded with excellently-crafted dim sum and mini dishes with almost a dozen different dipping sauces. There were fish sui mai, prawn and vegetable dumplings, crab and pork parcels, deliciously crisp and delicate fried items and fillet steak, which was meltingly tender, in a vibrant Cantonese sauce. Plump and juicy fried scallops came with diced fruit and a creamy mayonnaise-type sauce; crispy shredded chicken had a clean and lively chilli bite ad contrived to be satisfyingly moist on the inside; and perfectly-done fillets of Dover sole were accompanied by asparagus and XO sauce with some of the bones – this was new one -searingly deep-fried to crunchiness in light batter parcels. Chinese greens -gylan, a cross between bok choi and asparagus – were also tiptop and even the accompanying rice was a culinary treat – mixed with diced scallops and vegetables. As I mentioned earlier, wine is taken very seriously with a number of prestigious selections from Bordeaux and Burgundy listed, plus that greatest of Aussie reds, Penfold’s Grange. House wines start at £12.90 and our Touraine Sauvignon was an especially good match with the fish and seafood for £16.90. Cooking: Some of the best Chinese food in town Style: A winning combination for business and pleasure Plus: Al fresco dim sum Minus: Lincoln Square needs an upgrade Value: Doing what we did comes to around £25 – £30 a head, plus drinks. Rating: 4 stars

Ray King Manchester Evening News

18th June 2004

Classy festive street eats

Two of my favourite Manchester restaurants have taken their wares to the city’s festive streets to provide Christmas shoppers with a top-notch pit stop. Wing’s, the respected Chinese restaurant now well established in Lincoln Square, and The Bridge, Rob Owen-Brown’s celebrated gastropub in Bridge Street, are sharing back-to-back “stalls” outside Selfridges ad Harvey Nicks in New Cathedral Street.

Ray King Manchester Evening News

3rd December 2004

Getting a moove on for the cow parade

There’s nothing like last-minute preparations to build excitement. And the finishing touches to Wing Restaurant’s model cow, China Moon, have certainly caught the public’s interest for next week’s Cow Parade. While most of the participants are ready for the preview showing tomorrow night, today local artist Claire Parker was getting a move on to complete her Chinese design in front of the crowds in Lincoln Square. The glass fibre cow is one of hundreds taking part in Manchester’s biggest display of public art, Cow Parade, from Monday. When the event finishes in September, the cows will be auctioned off for charity, but restaurant owner Wing Shing Chu has already become too attached to his bovine friend to it go. I am going to bid for China Moon at the auctions, he says. I’m sure we can find a space for her in Wing.

Carmel Thomason The Diary Manchester Evening News

10th June 2004

Wing's takes over the Lincoln

Wing’s, where the Lincoln used to be in Lincoln Square, Manchester, is a Chinese Restaurant and as you’d expect in this prime city centre location a very smart one indeed. The owner, Wing Shing Chu, used to be a chef in Chinatown.

The Lincoln was always one of the smarter but he has made big changes with lots of blond woodwork amd murals by a Cheshire artist including the Great Wall of China, with pandas stage left, and the Hong Kong waterfront skyline with the buildings equipped with prominent logos. It is a few years since I was in Hong Kong and did not remember an Arndale Centre there or such a prominent office of Dibb, Lupton. But Mr Wing told me that he has transferred the names of his best clients to the buildings. Both the kitchens and wine storage are creditably state of the art and the wine list makes appetising reading. With sliding patio windows and now a low wall summer dining conditions are particularly comfortable. We started inevitably with dim sum of which there is a wide selection, both steamed and fried. Those we tried included prawn envelopes with mayonnaise dip, Lan Tau fishcakes, spring roll and pak choy and prawn dumplings. All were precisely cooked pleasures.

There are three types of platter of around half a dozen items, mixed dim sum (£5.80), seafood (£6.80) and hot and spicy (£5.80). We follow with a quarter of aromatic crispy duck with pancakes, cucumber, leek and hoi sin sauce (£8.90). It was exemplary. We then went onto sizzling king prawns with ginger and spring onions (£10.90), chicken breast with asparagus pak choy and fried rice. There is a range of vegetarian dishes, luxury ingredients like lobster, Dover sole, monkfish, sea bass and scallops abound and three banquet menus ranging from £20.90 a head to £34.90. Everything was good and Wing’s, which has already become popular with the footballers, provides different dining in the heart of the shopping and business centre of the city.

Brian Hargreaves Cheshire Life

September 2004