Historic Newark is traditionally known for its wonderful, picturesque castle and classical market town credentials. However, it is also growing in stature as a center for fine food.
Helping build this reputation in no small way is the New King Wah Cantonese Restaurant in the very heart of the town. Now, you may think that there is nothing new to be said about the humble Cantonese Restaurant, after all they are now as popular as the traditional British Chippy, but the New King Wah is not your average Cantonese Restaurant.
The Restaurant is owned and managed by Mr Chan, whose parents moved from Hong Kong over 40 years ago to set up the original King Wah in Newark.
It would be my bet that the Restaurant has come a long way since those pioneering days, because you can take all your preconceptions and throw them in the bin when visiting this eaterie.
The first thing that really strikes you is the interior design. Mr Chan has managed to combine the luxury of authentic Cantonese restaurants with a distinct contemporary design. The New King Wah does not appear fussy, it is light and spacious and immediately makes the visitor feel at ease with its beautiful lobby and bar area where customers can enjoy pre- or post meal refreshment.
The dining area is laid out tastefully with large tables lending an air of comfort, in contrast with other restaurants which often try and cram diners in.
Our convivial host, Mr Chan, welcomed us and took us to our table by a window that afforded a great view of Newatrk old and new. Mr Chan had taken the time to choose our meal for us, making sure that my partner and I could taste the full range of New King Wah specialities.
We started off with a smorgasbord of Oriental treats that included spare ribs in barbecue sauce, prawn toast and crackers, spring rolls and chicken morsels in a hoi sin batter. This Starter was a meal in itself, however, it whetted our appetites enough for the main course as we sipped on a refreshing lass of wine.
And what a Main Course it was. As mentioned, Mr Chan had chosen for us, and he had chosen well. We were presented with a cornucopia of different tastes and textures of Cantonese cuisine. Before us stood four excellent dishes - chicken salsa, fillet of beef with black bean sauce, king prawns with mange tout and the wonderful deep fried and battered soft shell crab.
And of course this delightful food was served in such marvelous surrounds. It really is hard to criticize the New King Wah. It is beautifully designed and decorated, it serves both unusual and more common and Cantonese fayre and it emanates an atmosphere that is hard to beat.
However, Mr Chan is not complacent. When I asked him if the Restaurant's reputation ensures a full house each night, he simply says, "Our reputation is only as good as the last meal we served."