We moved to Nottingham last year and I’m still finding my feet. Spending most of last year pregnant and now having two little ones, it’s hard to explore (to say the least!) I definitely miss London. For so many reasons and I mention them all occasionally on my Instagram when homesickness hits. But you know one of the things I really miss? The food!!!!! You can laugh all you want but when you’ve lived somewhere for 30 years, you kinda know whats a hit and what’s a miss. I’m still trying to find the hit’s in Nottingham as so far, the majority of places I’ve eaten in or taken away from having been a bit of a miss. So when the very lovely Nancy let me tag along to a complimentary dinner with her at Chao Chao in West Bridgford, I obviously snapped up the offer!
Ironically, West Bridgford is one of the few places I know in Nottingham but I had never seen Chao Chao before. It’s a Southeast Asian Takeaway and eat in restaurant. They call themselves an urban oriental kitchen and aim to be the freshest, cleanest and greenest Southeast Asian Takeaway around. In terms of the vibe I got from the restaurant itself it’s a super cool, contemporary and fresh restaurant. There’s space to eat in on stools and wooden tables. They deliver, you can order and collect or eat in. Plus, good news, there’s parking outside!
Let’s move on to the food. What it’s all about!
I can’t lie. It’s one of the best takeaways I’ve had in Nottingham. To be honest. It’s probably the best so far. All the food was so fresh and tasted like it was supposed too. I don’t know about you but when I get takeout from a bog standard Chinese it all kind of tastes the same! Not at Chao Chao. It has real distinctive flavours that really come through in each dish. Here’s a rundown of a few of my favourites currently on the menu-
Korean Chicken Wings
I’m a chicken wing connoisseur (even if I do say so myself) and these chicken wings were everything I wished for and more. As I type my mouth is watering just thinking about them! They are a generous portion of crispy wings (no soggy bottom over here!). Coated in a sticky, rich, sweet and tangy sauce. You taste the sweetness first and then after the first bite you get the heat coming through. I could easily plough through a couple of portions of these! An absolute must-have as one of the small plates to share or even as a main for one.
Bao Bun Lemon Grass Beef
I’ve never had a Bao bun before so I can’t compare it to anything for you. But what I can say from a first timers perspective is that these were delicious. A hearty portion of really flavoursome beef inside fluffy buns. The lemongrass really came through but it tastes real. None of this fake essence stuff. Really tasty and filling.
Bang Bang Cauliflower
This was a total revelation for me. I would NEVER order cauliflower. Anywhere. Ever. I mean why would I? It’s one of the blandest most pointless vegetables going. Right? WRONG? Bang Bang Cauliflower really does have a bang-bang to it. A portion of crispy, tasty morsels of cauliflower, which for the meat lovers amongst us taste like the lovely crispy bits that fall off fried chicken. It’s a great side if you usually go for curries etc as it adds that savoury crunch. Really delicious and you get a massive portion!
Beef Rendang Curry
This blew my socks off with how delicious it was. Just like all the curries, it comes in a large pot with a divider so that the curry is on one side and the rice is on the other. This is a really special festival dish that’s usually served on special occasions in Indonesia and Malaysia. It’s cooked with lemongrass, red chillies and coconut and it’s served with sticky jasmine rice.
The beef rendang was the perfect heat for me. It reminded of Caribbean curry goat which has a real depth of spice but doesn’t’ burn your mouth. It’s a massive portion and so, so tasty. I actually took the leftovers of this curry home to Chiino and he was pretty impressed too. He’s a hard one to impress because he is a little fussy when it comes to food. But even he wants another try and the beef Rendang!
In all honesty, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu. It’s all so tasty and fresh. None of that weak greasy gravy at the bottom of the dishes. By the way, All of the packaging used by Chao Chao is made with bio-degradable materials so that’s one of the ways they aim to be the cleanest and green takeaway restaurant around. I’m pretty chuffed I’ve found this little gem in Nottingham and trust me… I’ll be visiting more frequently than I should!
Gluten Free Menu – yes!
Vegan Menu – yes!
Address: 75 Melton Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 6EN
Phone: 01159 819 439