Dinner for 6 people with poor impulse control and plenty of beer: £180
There is no need for 6 people to order 14 dishes at a Chinese restaurant. Tapas maybe, but Chinese no. But this is what happens when my friends give Jenelle and I permission to order for everyone. Never ever a safe move for those who wish to be able to breathe at the end of a meal.
Sichuan is a small, unimpressive looking restaurant on a fairly generic side street in a pretty boring part of London (Acton). I am surprised we even found it or that anyone thought to recommend it. If you do manage to make it out there and of you also happen to show up with a lot of people, don’t fret, the basement has a nice big table with a very 80s lazy susan in the middle that is great for a group.
Sichuan restaurants are not all that common in London for some reason and if you love the food (as Jenelle and I do) then it’s very hard to resist the temptation to order one (or in some cases two) of all of your favorites. I wondered why the waiter was giving us funny looks when we ordered. Then I looked through the tally.
If I described every dish in detail you’d get bored and fall asleep. And to be honest there’s no way I could remember how all of them were. So I’ll stick with the highlights. The sour and spicy potato threads (threadlike on the menu) were good. The ma po tofu was just so so (I make it better at home). The kung pao was pretty damn good but for some odd reason only came with cashews (I prefer it with peanuts).
The sweet and sour eggplant dragon – which we ordered simply because of the name – was fabulous. It was an entire eggplant sliced, battered and deep fried with a sauce of minced pork, chilis, spring onions and other good things. It was ludicrous to look at but absolutely delicious.
My other favorite is a dish that is just so excessive that I will probably never attempt to make it at home. It requires about a gallon of oil and a few tons of dried chilis and Sichuan peppercorns to make a braising broth. It’s not as spicey as you might expect given all of the ingredients. The fish has a mellow smokey flavor. One of my favorites. The last time I had it was at Bar Shu where it was just as delicious but also nearly 4 times the price.
And here we come to why you should come here. Yes it’s in the middle of nowhere, yes it has little atmosphere to speak of. But the staff are lovely, the food is very good and even if you go with friends who seriously over order you won’t go bankrupt eating here.
116 Churchfield Rd
Acton, W3 6