It’s been ages since my last update! I’ve had a lot of very nice food recently, but all the pictures have turned out dark so no use posting them here. The thing is that I’m waiting for Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc to be released here in the UK, should be any day soon. Apparently, it has a really nice camera and I’ve been waiting for a decent camera phone. So, hopefully more updates with better pictures soon.
Ok, Red N Hot should seriously consider putting me on their payroll because I eat here a lot. I think it’s such a nice restaurant, the food is perhaps a bit heavy but the flavours are great. Tried some new stuff this time around.
Good old pork dumplings, these are delicious.
These are cumin spiced king prawns. I’ve had this twice I think. Really flavourful prawns, loads of cumin, Sichuan pepper and chilli. Such a nice dish! I just eat the prawns shell on, love these bastards!
Slices of pig’s ear in sesame oil. This was actually good, although a bit starchy. The ear was crunchy, thinly sliced and heavily seasoned with sesame. Would definitely try pig’s ear again, perhaps in a different dish.
Here you have, if I remember correctly, boiled beef and beef tripe. This really looks alien! The taste was great! Aromatic, tender meat and a good crunch in the tripe. You really have to not think about what you are eating, it can be a challenge. Great food though!
This is the second (or third) time I write about Red ‘n’ Hot on this blog. It is one of the Sichuanese restaurants in London that I visit on a regular basis. They consistently serve good quality Sichuanese food and they keep it authentic, if it says spicy it is spicy and no bell peppers or other random vegetables here. It’s always packed with (young) Chinese people, not perhaps the most cosiest and romantic of restaurants – then again, who needs romance when you can have Sichuan pepper?
Here’s pictures of some of the food I have had there this autumn.
Hot and sour vermicelli soup. This is an interesting and very tasty dish, I love the dried soy beans (I think it’s soy beans) that they top this soup with.
Dan Dan Noodles. This is very different from the other Dan Dan Noodles you get in London,the noodles are thinner and it’s more mild.
Here we have the same noodles, this time cold served in a hot and sour cold broth (under the noodles). This is topped with cucumbers and sugar! Mix it together and enjoy. Love the vinegar on this one!
Pork Dumpling with Chili Oil, very nice and tender.
Wonton noodles in chicken broth, these are so soft and velvety, lovely!
Water cooked pork, a favourite of mine. This comes in a very spicy and flavourful broth (not a broth really). Generous amount of Sichuan peppers and chillies. I really love this!
Mapo Tofu. There is something with this dish that makes me go crazy. The tofu, the leek and the minced pork in the very spicy sauce. I LOVE MAPO TOFU! I’d have children with mapo tofu, I’m not sure it’s possible though.
I’d love to be in a Chinese kitchen to see how they prepare their fish because it is so different from what you would get in any fish restaurant. Extremely soft, delicate but yet firm. The fish is always expensive (£15+), you do get a decent amount though. This was a white fish served with some green leaves and tomato skins. Wonderful!
We were walking down to Hipster Town and lo and behold a brand new Sichuanese restaurant in London! Why have I not heard about this place before?
The management was very friendly, introduced us to the menu and gave us some good (although safe) alternatives to pick from.
We started with a selection of starters (clockwise from top sweet and sour spare ribs, walnut kernel with sesame, spiced beef soaked with soy sauce, green beans in a ginger sauce and in the middle Sichuan Folk special flavoured chicken). All great!
I also ordered a plate of smacked cucumber in a hot garlic sauce. Actually, not that hot, very pleasant.
Our first main course was mapo tofu, this was a really nice version. Perfect tofu, nice seasoning but could have used some more Sichuan pepper.
Special flavoured duck cooked with beer. I’m sorry to say but this dish was not nice. It was too dry and starchy, lacked flavours (nothing special about it). And I really disliked the use of bell peppers, why? I hope they wouldn’t have played safe with the dish, I am sure you can make it more authentic and bursting with flavours.
All in all, I might go here again if I would happen to be in Hipster Town. However, I might just go crazy with starters as these were really the highlights of the meal. Please pay them a visit and let me know what your thoughts are.
I’m back, sorry for the wait! Last night we had a fabulous hot pot at Chilli Cool, the restaurant I reviewed earlier on this summer. They provided us with unlimited ingredients for the hot pot. Look at this picture, ridiculous amounts of food!
Under the pile of meat (beef, pork and lamb) we had fresh white fish, prawns, crab, Chinese sausage, bean curd sticks, frozen spongy tofu, crab sticks, straw mushrooms, cloud mushrooms, sea kelp, vermicelli noodles, Chinese leaves, cabbage, potatoes. The actual hot pot (forgot to take one as I got carried away with eating) was a half spicy / half white soup, great flavours and a seasoned to perfection with Sichuan spices.
When we had finished the stuff above we asked for some more meat and fish, the waitress brought us a new plate with everything! We were struggling to manage to eat everything, so much food! I must say that this was the best hot pot I’ve had so far – definitely coming back! I love Chilli Cool – now on my top pick list!
God bless Bar Shu! I have always wanted to go to this restaurant, the original (and most expensive) of the trio of restaurants that Fuchsia Dunlop consults for. Once again, God bless this place! I’m getting religious…
So, the place itself is very nice. Spacious, nice decoration and attentive staff. The menu is extensive and has anything a Sichuan food junkie like me could wish for. One of the dishes, in addition to Mapo Tofu, that I always order to compare restaurants is Shui Zhu Niu Rou (boiled beef slices in extremely hot sauce). This is also one of my favourite Sichuan dishes as it really demonstrates the great flavours of Sichuan food.
Here is Bar Shu’s take on Shui Zhu Niu Rou.
The camera and the light does not really do the dish justice because this was the best thing I have had for a very long time. Perfectly seasoned, great tender meat and very spicy. I loved it!
We also ordered a steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onions. The waitress removed the head and bones before I took the picture but here you have it.
This fish was amazing. So tender, perfectly cooked and the seasoning was light and delicate. I really enjoyed it, probably the best fish I have had in a very long time.
Bar Shu is officially my favourite restaurant in London and I will be going back very soon!
Look at this wonderful food!
I was really hoping that the stuff they serve at Chilli Cool would be hot, spicy and flavourful and it was! I visited between lunch and dinner, so the place was actually empty. This is always risky, the head chef might take a break and leave a junior chef in charge. I do not know who was in the kitchen, but the food was just great.
I had Shui Zhu Niu Rou, or water-cooked beef. This is something I really like, a great mix of beef and vegetables (usually bean sprouts and leeks) in a very hot and fragrant broth. The portion was huge, probable enough for two people. I ate it all by myself in less than 15 minutes, it was just perfect. I am most definitely going back very soon. They had an impressive menu and I really liked the place! Might end up on my top pick list very soon.
Since writing the previous review, I have actually revisited Baozi Inn twice! I like their central London location, the service is always fast and the prices are very reasonable.
I wanted to try some more of their soups, they actually have quite many on the menu.
Here you have Bbq spare ribs noodle soup, very dark and rich in colour and flavour. Definitely worth trying!
This was one of their house specialities, Sichuan spicy noodle soup. To be honest, the soup was not at all spicy and it was very oily so you would be mad to finish the dish. The flavours were ok, but nothing spectacular.
Mapo Tofu! It was served on top of a very generous serving size of rice and came with a small chicken soup (picture below). The flavours were all there and I really liked that they had sprinkled loads of ground Sichuan pepper on top of it. It was perhaps a bit dry if I were to criticise something, however, a great dish!
Finally, pork baozi. A bun with a great lump of pork in the middle. Actually really nice and a good way of filling your stomach! You are not given any cutlery to eat the bun, sorry for the bite marks on the bun.
* Update 10/08/26 *
Today I visited Baozi Inn again. I had two dishes; one pork/spicy noodle and one sour-hot tofu side dish. I really DISLIKED the food today, it had no taste and it was just bland. I might stay away from the place for a couple of months and see how things develop. It is definitely not on my top picks list any more.