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Sichuan in London?


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I'm going to be in London over the next couple weeks, and had planned to visit Bar Shu -- until I found out it was closed for renovations.

I've learned that web searches on this topic don't pan out, so I'd like to ask: what are the best places for Sichuan food in London right now?

Thanks!

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I'm going to be in London over the next couple weeks, and had planned to visit Bar Shu -- until I found out it was closed for renovations.

I've learned that web searches on this topic don't pan out, so I'd like to ask: what are the best places for Sichuan food in London right now?

Thanks!

Boazi Inn (peoples commune,-in Chinese) a recent opening in Chinatown, is from the same team at Bar Shu.

It specialises in street food from Beijing and Chengdu

Quite a few food bloggers are talking about it favourably.

Timeout magazine also rates it very highly.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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  • 2 years later...

This was written a couple of years ago. Any updates? I'll be visiting London next month and might try some Sichuanese food. Should I really seek out a Sichuan restaurant? Is the food that different to the omni-present Cantonese?

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Bar shu is open again and i woudl really recommend it, certainly not cheap (nor ridiculous) but i think the food there is outstanding. They also have Bar Shan across the road that is smaller and more "fast food" for want of a better expression which i really enjoy too. I'm certainly no expert on chinese cuisine but the sichaun food at bar shu appeals to me because it is less "sweet", more unusual menu choices, and a hell of a lot more flavourful (spices - floral yet spicy peppercorns etc) I have eaten everything from the crispy pigs ear to the Hot and numbing beef (yes thats what its called!) to jellyfish and every dish has been a success. I am sure someone more knowledgable can fill you in a bit more on teh differences but thats my tuppence ha'pennys worth!

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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I didn't try any Chinese food in London, since we have much more (and better) Chinese food where I live, and I would bet that authentic Sichuan food is hard to find there. However, I have heard pretty good things about Barshu (mentioned above), for which food writer Fuchsia Dunlop did some consulting, for Sichuan cuisine. As far as I know, it should be open now (the post that mentioned it being under rennovation is from '09).

Real Sichuan food is very different from Cantonese cuisine (for that matter, high-end Cantonese cuisine is different from the gloppy take-out many people are used to). Sichuan cuisine is known for very generous use of both hot chili peppers, usually dried or pickled, rather than fresh, and huajiao (lit. flower-pepper, often called Sichuan peppercorn, though it is not a pepper) in a combination known as mala (numbing-spicy). Sichuan cuisine can be quite refined, and not all dishes from all regions are spicy or numbing, but that is definitely one thing that's hard to miss when you experience it full-blast. Sichuan food uses doubanjiang (fermented broad bean paste) quite a bit, and it's a different style than the fermented beans generally used in Cantonese cooking (豆豉; dou chi). Those are just a few differences; I'm sure others could enumerate the many other differences between the two cuisines.

Now, if you go to a very Westernized Sichuan place, especially if the chef / kitchen staff are not actually Sichuanese, you may not notice a difference, but if you go to a proper Sichuan restaurant, I don't think you could help but find the food quite different.

Edited by Will (log)
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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for you replies. Why are there so few? Are the foods 'difficult' for the western palate?

I wouldn't call them difficult, just very spicy. Most dishes don't present themselves as something with a kick. There's a reason why one of the above posters called it numbing-spicy!

Even though I prefer refined Cantonese cuisine, I love Sichuan food. It's assertive, pulls no punches, but very, very flavourful.

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  • 4 weeks later...

By the way, not Sichuan, but Golden Days on Shaftesbury Avenue does really great, very authentic Hunan fare at very reasonable prices, so if Bar Shu is too expensive, you might consider that

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I actually think Bar Shu and Ba Shan are about as good as it gets for sichuan cusine in London, although that is in comparison with the best that Manchester has to offer in Red Chilli and Red n Hot.

I don't claim to be in any way an expert, but if Fuchsia Dunlop (who is) is an advisor at the two B's thats good enough for me.

We tried Boazi Inn and thought it very meeeh, with sticky tacky sloppy environment. Not for us I,m afraid. I want better when parting with my money. We would have been more forgiving if the food had been better.

Thinking about it, I could just pig out on two or three scorching hot dishes at this point in time.

I'm a glutton for punishment.

Yum, Yum. :biggrin:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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FWIW Baozi Inn is by the same people as Bar Shu, at least I'm pretty sure. it's very informal, with a small menu though, so if you're after fuqi feipian or shizhou yu they won't have it (and know you know my go-to Sichuanese dishes :biggrin: )

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