The Wok Box - reviewed by the Taste Detectives

Durban's new Asian fusion hotspot is ticking all the right boxes.

11 Apr 2014

Pedigree counts in food.

Big time.

Which is why, when I heard that Sean Beatt was cooking up a storm at The Wok Box, a little hole in the wall in Mackeurtan avenue, I had to have a look, because when it comes to culinary pedigree, Sean Beatt is a proper thoroughbred.

He is the son of Brian Beatt, the culinary master behind a much missed Grande Dame of Durban fine dining, The Colony, and the brainchild behind a dozen popular eateries over the years, always cutting edge, always ahead of the curve.

Wok Box is no different, but that pedigree has come full circle.

Its clever, highly stylized, zen-garden-cum-Philippe-Starck minimalist façade functions as a wonderful canvas, for what can only be described as a personal twist on Pacific Rim food, with strong Chinese accents.

It’s not fusion, it’s the culmination of years of experience and understanding of Thai food, smartly blended with Cantonese, Vietnamese, Malaysian Cuisine outrageously tweaked with kitsch Westernised Chinese.

Eggfooyong-esque twists, and fortune cookie cheekiness come together with wonderful irreverence to reinvent popular dishes, unapologetically inauthentic in substance, but pure in form.

Compelling stuff.

Eurasian comfort food, without Global ethnic pretention, served up in polystyrene containers for take away, and it gets a big thumbs up.

Crispy Pork with garlic and pepper was a chop-suey style dish bursting with colour, drenched in  a light soy based sauce with an abundance of  crisp fresh vegetables, alongside noodles, reminding one of good Cantonese staple food.

Crying Tiger Salad takes mint and chilli with ground pork to a wonderfully fresh and spicy new dimension, evoking memories of Thai Laab salads like Beef Waterfall, the fresh mint dominating, cut with kick ass Thai chillis and lemon.

Spicy Peanut Chicken, was tender perfection, with a Malaysian Satay inspired sauce, sporting a coconut creaminess.

The Five Spice Pork was cutlets of melt in your mouth tender pork, macerated in a delightfully fragrant, light and slightly sweet sauce, with an almost Hoi Sin like cloyingness , cut by the fennel against the base of star anise and cloves, with that gorgeous cinnamon scent. It was a fitting homage to Shichuan cuisine.

All in all a whirlwind of Asian flavours, whipped up in Durban North in minutes and served hot a few kilometres away ….


The Wok Box was reviewed by Jay Pee of The Taste Detectives. Follow them on twitter @TasteDetectives


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