One of my favourite things about April is the complete unpredictability of the weather – we have no bloody idea how to adapt as it can change so quickly! One second we’re digging out thermals to battle the ‘beast from the east’ and the next there’s a large round yellow thing in the sky which makes us… warm? What is this sorcery? Yes that’s right spring sprung on a lovely Thursday last week and I took the opportunity to head down to Wapping Wharf, one of my favourite places in Bristol, for some lunch and a bit of people watching in the sunshine. A couple wandered past hand in hand, both sporting winter coats, hats and gloves just as a student wandered the other way in shorts and flip flops… we just have no idea do we?
After swinging by the office to disrupt all my colleagues with Baby TGE cuddles (seriously, taking a puppy or a baby into an office guarantees a 100% dip in productivity but 100% rise in happiness) we ventured home via the harbourside which was bustling on such a beautiful day. The Cargo development at Wapping Wharf is home to many really exciting new places to eat and I feel like I’ve only tried a fraction of them so far. High on my list to try since it opened in 2016 was Woky Ko, a ‘casual Asian diner’ run by Masterchef finalist Larkin Cen. With a menu comprising of bao (filled Asian steamed buns), noodles, rice dishes and sharing plates there’s a lot of tasty options to choose from. I was wrangling the pram on this particular visit and have a tendency to adopt a policy of speed and confidence when trying to get it round tricky spaces when I’m nervous. This sometimes works and sometimes… doesn’t. A very friendly waiter approached me before I entered the tiny, tiny cargo unit and attempted to explain to me that I could take a seat anywhere and it’s table service. I batted this away without listening and rather firmly told him “YES LUNCH FOR ME PLEASE” before ramming the pram into the cargo unit. After a lot of (very polite) people squeezed their chairs and disrupted their lunch in order for me to make my way to the counter to order, I actually stopped long enough to listen to the staff gently explain that I didn’t need to do this… A slightly sweaty reversal later and lots of of forced laughter from me and I was seated outside with the menus and a cold coke to take the edge off.
I was tempted by the baos (and will be back to try them) but on such a lovely day I opted for one of the lunch specials, crispy duck rice noodle salad with chicory in an Asian dressing (£5.95). After a short wait a large bowl was placed in front of me with that tantalising smell of succulent duck wafting in the breeze. It was a generous portion for the price and everything on the plate was fresh and vibrant. The duck was beautifully tasty and sprinkled throughout the salad were little balls of crispy duck skin which were gorgeous. The salad was crunchy and filling, it felt more substantial than salads can be with plenty of interesting colours and textures. I enjoyed the Asian dressing which was the right amount of sharp and sweet but I felt there was far too much for my personal taste – I’m not sure if this was just a one off with my dish or if it’s how the salad is served – but the dressing pooled at the bottom which made the last of the salad soggy. I also found by the end that the taste of the dressing overwhelmed the remaining salad and duck which was a shame.
As I had been so healthy with my salad lunch I decided to reward myself with desert -that’s a balanced diet, right? – and wasn’t about to walk away from the offer of a salted caramel bao with coconut ice cream (£4.25)…I’m so bloody glad I didn’t! It’s a fairly delicate portion size (perfect for one but not for sharing, Mr TGE would have got a fork in the face if he’d try to sample some) but absolute perfection. The bao was light and fluffy inside but sweet and crisp on the outside, a bit like little doughnuts. The ice cream was really creamy with a strong coconut flavour, I was at plate-licking stage quickly with it. Salted caramel sauce oozed over it all and I was in heaven, I could have happily demolished 5 of them.
So would I go back? Absolutely, those baos aren’t going to eat themselves you know. If you haven’t ventured to the cargo units at Wapping wharf I would really recommend a trip, especially on a lovely sunny day.