I think Bar & Wok has been in Cheltenham longer than Neptune’s fountain on the prom, but similar to our mythical-themed water feature; Bar & Wok has replaced and updated a few things over the years… so is it still as great as it used to be?
Pak Wai’s pride and joy came to Cheltenham in 2005 (compared to 1893 for Neptune’s Fountain – fact fans!) and boasts quality chinese food with local fresh ingredients. The casual style, and quick service draws several comparisons to Wagamamas, but unlike the global behemoth you can feel the love and dedication in every single dish.
Seemingly always at full capacity most evenings, I always wonder why they didn’t look for a bigger venue – certainly Cheltenham High Street has the capacity to offer should they wish to expand.
My favourite menu selection is a cold Ashahi beer, beef patties to start then the 288 Chicken Curry (or sometimes the Sweet & Sour). This have always been consistently great – and always served swiftly. Perhaps that’s my one gripe – sometimes you want to sit and chat to friends over a meal for a couple of hours. Unless the kitchen is under a particular strain then you could be in and out in 30 minutes. On the flip-side, this works well when the trailers at Cineworld start in 45 minutes and you don’t fancy Paparittos.
Some people have voiced that star dishes have changed over the years, and it’s not the same. But those same people will still check-in at B&W on Facebook week-in, week-out. At the time of writing this, the restaurant holds a strong 4.5 on TripAdvisor boasting comments such as ‘never disappoints’ and ‘would recommend’.
I think it’s safe to say that Bar & Wok retains it’s crown as the go-to Chinese restaurant in Cheltenham, and perhaps the best casual dining experience the town has to offer.