A short, neat menu with pictures of dishes was presented to us, and I was surprised to find most of the usual crowd-pleasing dishes were missing. It was Sichuan only and this pleased me. After much panic and self-restraint, we settled on a few dishes. Firstly, century eggs with sliced green chillis was doused with sesame oil and was super spicy. The eggs aren't as terrifying as they look; being buried in alkaline clay gives them that appearance, but they are creamy and mild.
Sliced chicken in chilli oil was cold yet mouth-warming. The chicken flesh was firm but tender, the skin pleasingly gelatinous.
White gourd and sliced pork soup was not made with winter melon as I thought it would be, but rather Chinese turnip (daikon). Simple and cleansing, it reminded me of soups my grandmother served when I was a child, at the start of the meal to aid digestion. I found it quite addictive.
Pickled green beans with pork and chilli was a vast portion and the tangy greens mixed with the savoury pork was perfect mixed into our bowls of rice. The beef in chilli came with a warning from our waitress, but we soldiered on. Strips of beef were velveted and as a result were really tender, bobbing around in a broth that was distinctly lacking in Sichuan peppercorn numbness but more than made up for it in chilli punch. A dish of boiled dumplings with chilli oil were slightly dull.
With service, food the three of us and a few beers each reached the grand total of £76 big ones. A total bargain really, especially as I got to take the leftover minced pork and pickled green beans to mix it with some steamed rice and top with a fried egg the next day. A very decent lunch indeed.
I sense a return visit in my very near future, mainly to try the shrimp in salted egg yolk and the crispy sea bass dishes. Oh! And they have a hot plate embedded into the tables. Steamboat ahoy. The toilets are disgusting though.
194 Old Kent Road,
Tel: 020 7703 9797