Wonderful Chinese Takeaway, Croydon

With a name like Wonderful this Chinese takeaway is setting the bar right on up there. You expect everything to be brilliant, super tasty and great value for money. Given the reviews dotted around various takeaway apps it seemed that perhaps the name was rather fitting for once.

My partner and I are not too fussy and are generally happy to go with a set menu. The good thing about the set menus for this restaurant is that you get a choice of main dish and the choice is not just a tiny list but a massive selection with a variety of main ingredients and styles. Having the choice of dish there does make it a little more expensive than some other places but when, like me, you are allergic to black beans and everywhere else seems to be keen on dishing out black beans it is an extra price worth paying.

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We both got the set menu for one and even though it is suggested to be for one person it created leftovers for lunch the next day making that £8 per person seem the little bit more reasonable again. The starter is a set item and is a mixture of vegetable spring rolls and chicken balls with sweet and sour sauce. My partner opted for the OK sauce Special whilst I selected the Special curry and both of these automatically came with egg fried rice.

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The starter part did make me chuckle slightly as the chicken balls were the least ball like thing I have ever encountered from a Chinese takeaway. However, the thing that made them different also made them better. Instead of it being loads of chicken compressed into the ball shape they were just thick strips of actual proper decent quality chicken. A pleasant and most welcome change to the usual. They were coated well without the batter being too thick or stodgy and they were not too greasy. Likewise the spring rolls were crispy and not covered in oil on the outside whilst the inside was full of filling and flavour.

My partner really seemed to enjoy his main and he had a decent amount of meat included in the dish. There was a variety of meat from chicken and beef to lamb with the odd prawn thrown in too. From looking at it I felt that the chef could have taken a little more time cutting the onion as there were several rather large chunks of the stuff dotted throughout but he seemed to find it tasty and said it made a change from the usual things he opts for.

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Now the curry that I had was tasty and also full of a variety of meat but it could have been put together a little better. It was clear that the sauce had been cooked separately to the meat and then the meat had been added in. This would have been okay but I do not feel that the meat was drained of oil first so when it arrived you could see puddles of oil on top of the sauce where the two had separated. Using a small spoon to remove it and then just mixing the rest together resolved this problem but it is still a bit of an off-putting thing to have to deal with. It was not too spicy either and I do not mean in the sense of being hot, which it was not either, but in the sense of it not just being loaded with curry powder. It did not have that powdery or spice laden finish it just had that actual mild curry taste.

The rice was of good quality and was not too oily or heavy to eat. It was clear that they had taken the time to prepare and cook the rice properly. I was also happy because the rice did not involve any peas, which is something that I try to avoid, so I could go on dividing it up and eating it without being on the look out for a green eyed monster. And they are very generous on the rice too as the lids were just about crammed on and ready to pop off on arrival which is a great thing if you are wanting to feel like you are getting value for money.

I would certainly return to Wonderful in the future and would recommend it to others as well although I do acknowledge that at £8 per single person set menu (the prices obviously get cheaper for set menus with more people) that it is perhaps slightly more expensive than some others on the market. The food overall was wonderful though and a delight to eat just maybe stay away from the oily curry (which was good but yknow – oil). They also get brownie points for turning up at the specific time we asked for it to arrive at (unlike some companies that just seem to completely ignore that).

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