Thursday 14 April 2011

Le Wei Xiang, Lewisham (EDIT - new name, Tasty Inn)

Good God, my friends are difficult to get together. Way back in December, we arranged to visit Le Wei Xiang in Lewisham, a restaurant that seemed to specialise in far more than your average neighbourhood Chinese restaurant. Four attempts later, and with only half the originally intended group, we finally got there.

So, straight to the 'genuine Chinese tastes' section. Our party of 5 kept shouting random orders: "tripe! I want the tripe!" so in the end, it was just easier to write a list of numbers. One of the first to arrive was the cold tofu, steeped in a mixture of soy sauce and black vinegar, garnished with chopped preserved duck egg, spring onion and coriander. One of my favourite dishes of the evening, it was cool, creamy and flavoursome. The egg isn't as strong as you might think; it's jelly-liked textures and mild flavour was liked by all.

Lamb skewers were, dare I say it, better than Silk Road's. Juicy, pink meat, the cubes didn't alternate with crispy lumps of fat as in the aforementioned, but each piece was generously fatty. Alongside a dusting of cumin, these were marinaded with fennel seeds and had a caramel-like sweetness to them. I could have eaten the whole plate.

Sliced sea bass with preserved vegetable was a behemoth of a pot. Bobbing in the broth was silky slices of fish. At first, it tasted slightly bland, but blandness turned to comfort when spooned over a bowlful of rice.

Cucumbers in chilli oil were garlicky, spicy and wildly addictive.

Double cooked pork Sichuan style wasn't as spicy as I'd hoped but the pork was well seasoned and tender. Potato shreds with Sichuan pepper (opening photo) were properly and utterly mouth numbing. Other dishes such as aubergine with minced pork and cold noodles in 'sauce' were fairly unexciting but well made but one total failure of a dish was pigs blood and tofu soup, which managed to taste of absolutely nothing with a hint of dishwater. It was left untouched.

For £17 a head with (sweet and friendly) service and a couple of beers, we were all stuffed to the brim. I think for the money, Silk Road perhaps edges it slightly, but Silk Road doesn't do that tofu dish. And Silk Road doesn't deliver to my house...

Le Wei Xiang

80 Lee High Rd,
London SE13 5PT

Tel: 020 8318 2525


Blonde said...

Gods above, that tofu/egg dish looks tasty; ditto the cucumber.

Chris Pople said...

If we went again we could definitely construct an even better meal, but it is so odd that they thought that bowl of wobbly dishwater was worth serving. Still, lamb skewers mmm.

Unknown said...

Great find and am drooling slightly at the thought of the lamb skewers

Kay @ Chopstix2Steaknives said...

Love tofu with preserved egg..that's one of my favourite dishes and very easy to make!

Grumbling Gourmet said...

Hurrah for more good Sichuan places in South East London... was at Wuli Wuli last night, that place just keeps getting better, though I'd love to see how even Fergus Henderson could make Duck Tongue palatable to the British market... might try and challenge him!

Grand review, following a few different bloggers it's evident when you've been together and always interesting to read the slightly different angles.


Cherrychan108 said...

So glad to hear you like my friend's place! It's amazing! I hope you will return soon :) I'm there from time to time too! xxx Helen

Terd said...

Nice post and yeah, so on the money about Silk Road in Camberwell. Their much-vaunted skewers really aren't that great.

Like, they're edible, they're OK, I'll have six thanks, but they're not good.

And I've eaten these things from one end of China to the other, as cooked by real Uighurs.

So I'll keep my trap shut, duck the Jay Rayner hordes, and go to a way better option nearby...

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I've been looking for a good Chinese restaurant! I live in Brockley and there really isn't anything close to my house that I can find. Thanks for the tip!