Admittedly I've been a bit dubious and hesitant about Sichuan cuisine. I'm not a fan of that numbing pepper spice and whilst I enjoy heat and spice, my poor tummy sometimes doesn't. But Ling loves this place so we were ready to give it a go.
Seated around a table, 5 adults, a 3 year old and a baby in a bassinet, we had plenty of room. Found the wait staff friendly and helpful enough; the environment is very typically Chinese restaurant.
- Fish Slices with Pickled Vegetables
- FIsh Flavour Eggplant
- Cumin Lamb Ribs
- Bang Bang Chicken
- Corn in Gold Sand with Salted Egg Yolk (unpictured)
- Stewed Pork Belly Sichuan Home Style (unpictured)
- Sichuan Home Style Baby Cabbages, Pickled Chilli, Sweet and Sour (unpictured)
Steve was a little apprehensive as the menu items are a largely different to the more traditional Chinese cuisine that is heavily Cantonese influenced. I think he only recognised Ma Po Tofu and the sweet and sour pork, neither of which we ordered! However, his anxiety was shortlived as when the food arrived, he dug in and enjoyed.
The term 'fish fragrant' actually does not mean fishy at all but refers to the Sichuan traditional flavour notes of hot, sour, salty and sweet and with battered eggplant it's pretty glorious.
Definitely strong flavours come through in all the dishes but it doesn't overpower the natural flavours of the food and the flavours of each dish can be differentiated. It's good to know, it's not one big spicy mess.
The lamb ribs are what you want lamb ribs to be. Some fat for flavour but not so much that there's not meat and plenty of crunch and spice.
The mild dishes are the Stewed Pork Belly, the Baby Cabbages (which actually had slices of pork in it so watch out vegetarians!), and the corn. The fish dish was also quite mild but the combination of the piquant broth and steamed rice was pretty moreish.
We had a great meal - family feels and good flavours. Steve and I didn't feel any tummy discomfort afterwards either so good times all round although those with a more sensitive 'system' may feel the effects of spice, salt and oil. I've been informed it's worth it though!