Please note, Toa Kitchen is now closed. Time Out Food & Drink Editors, January 2017.
Taking over the site of the well-loved Magic Wok, Toa Kitchen is a worthy replacement for fans of good-value Chinese cooking. It’s now under new management, but a few familiar faces remain and, more importantly, so does the authentic Cantonese cuisine.
The new refurbishment isn’t loud, brash and brightly lit like many Chinatown restaurants. Dangling pendant light bulbs lend a modern design touch but traditional Chinese restaurant hallmarks – carpeted floors, cushioned chairs and elevator music – are also thrown in.
The menu is as expansive as any Cantonese restaurant, with an interesting selection of chef’s specials. Beef ho fun in black bean sauce was exactly as it should be – sticky, slithery and satisfying. ‘House special’ beancurd was actually pipa beancurd – minced beancurd, fish and pork, shaped like a pipa (a lute-like Chinese musical instrument) then deep fried. Sliced squid was tender and flash-fried, flavoured with a mild version of the shrimp chilli paste, belachan; the sliced gourd ‘Buddha’s hand’ resembled lotus root in texture.
Toa Kitchen is named after the owner Mr Toa, whose surname means cherry blossom in Chinese. These flowers signify new beginnings in Chinese culture, and we think Toa Kitchen looks set to bloom.