Beng Ch’ng, otherwise known as Chef Benz, joined forces with long time friend John Kirksey early last year to create a restaurant that provides Cayman residents with cuisine from East and Southeast Asia.
Their extensive menu offers an array of dishes from the Orient, and an additional Pinoy menu also caters to those specifically desiring the sweet, sour and salty tastes of Filipino cuisine.
While the restaurant is ‘fast and casual’ in the words of Chef Benz, it utilizes the depth of culinary knowledge that Malaysian-born Benz has accumulated both from his long career as a chef and his biennial visits to Southeast Asia, which allow him to collect ideas and explore new dishes. This results in a broad menu, and the appearance of many dishes not seen on other Asian menus on-island.
Many customers may be drawn to well known dishes such as Pad Thai and Indonesian Nasi Goreng, while other popular options include Malaysian Crispy Siok Bak – pork with chili, ginger and garlic; and Malaysian Har You Goa – shrimp, cashews and vegetables .
Chef Benz also encourages customers to try items they may not usually consider, including the “Bourbon Ji” – a delicious chicken dish cooked in Kentucky whisky and spices; or the Malaysian Crispy Siok Bak – roasted pork with chili, ginger and garlic. Unusual for an Asian menu, is the Wok-n-Roll Asian Burger, highly recommended by Benz, which uses seared beef, five spice and the spicy, sour, yet irresistible kimchi, nestled in a toasted bread roll.
Sweet teeth are also catered for, with Malaysian Zha Ice Cream and the angelic sounding Pinoy Halo Halo; an indulgent flan, ice cream cherry and lychee dessert. The specials board occasionally features other options such as the delightfully stodgy cassava cake. All perfect sacchariferous endings to a meal loaded with spices from the eastern world.
The restaurant design incorporates subtle aspects of Asian culture. Red and yellow colors are used throughout the room, and Benz explains that these colors correlate with feng shui.
Alongside canvas-backed photos of Asian market scenes, the walls display ‘tattoos’ or wall art symbols, a design aspect Benz says is unique to this restaurant. Two specific designs portray the characteristics of the two owners and friends. A horse, which Benz says alludes to John, represents creative power, and the dragon on the opposite wall is the great power, attributed to Benz.
Benz’s affection for his adopted home is evident in his endeavors to use local ingredients wherever possible, from vegetables to lionfish, and also in the business model of Wok-n-Roll, which gives back to the community by sponsoring many sporting events such as softball and basketball.
If you yearn for Wok-n-Roll’s Asian cuisine but don’t want to leave the comforts of home, do not fear; the restaurant delivers island-wide on orders $20 and over, with Seven Mile Beach being free of delivery prices and other district prices according to distance. The establishment can also cater functions.