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david goodfellow

Chilli Cool.

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Chilli Cool is London,s answer to Manchester,s Red Chilli. Or is the other way round? Well I suppose it depends if your a Mancunian or a Londoner. Me I am neither so I will sit on the fence.

Apart from both serving Sichuan food, the pricing, portion sizes, type of premises, etc are about even, so what about the food?

Well as most of you know we are big fans of Red Chilli and laterly of the Manchester branch of Red n Hot so it would be nice to make a comparison.

Our only other sichuan meals in London have been Ba Shan, which we thoroughly enjoyed, although the pricing is higher than Red Chilli and the portions are a lot smaller.

Boazi Inn was a bit of a non event for us as the sticky, tacky tables put us off, as did the brusque service, oh and the food was not that good either.


Located in the Kings Cross area of London and in the same street as the gastropub and tapas bar The Norfolk Arms ( which we did not rate ) it certainly is a neighbourhood restaurant.

It turns out that there are two restaurants and we went in the one on the left which was deserted and most disconcerting, a short while later a member of staff escorted us to next door ( to your right ) which had a bit more action going on.

The first thing that hit me as I decided where to sit was the acrid smoke from the basement kitchen, it was the unmistakable smell of dried red chillies being dry fried, I nearly burst into a coughing fit it was so strong.

We decided a visit to the loos were in order as we had a minor marathon in store.

This posed a bit of a problem as we negotiated the most dangerous set of stairs that I have had the very good fortune not to have fallen down. I kid you not dont try these in heels girls.

The kitchen is the tiniest we have witnessed, with only one chef on duty, no whites and dressed as though he had just walked in off the street, :shock:


The menus (two of them) contained the usual suspects, quite a few offally things, hot pots, noodles, etc. The dishes were fairly representative of the menu photos as witnessed by a couple of dishes delivered to a neighbouring table.

One of the dishes on their table was a prawn dish that we fancied so we ordered that.


Stir fried King Prawn with green and red pepper ( £9.50 ) was an enjoyable start to the meal, we think the prawns were coated in egg and flour first, then stir fried and coated with sesame seeds.

Heavily laden with dry fried red chillies (to release the aroma) it was not as hot as we have come to expect.

I would have liked some spring onion in there but leeks must have been on special offer as they seemed to be in virtually every dish on show. Good slices of lightly fried garlic added an extra pungency.

Now we have ordered four dishes, all mains and have asked if they can doggy bag the remainder as we know we can not eat all of this food.

Sadly the waitress does not understand me ( and no I am not drunk) so has to bring the manager. I,m not best pleased as we are in England not Szhechuan Province after all, and the situation is mutual I can not understand her either.

To furthar aggravate the situation no rice has arrived with the dishes, we wait, wait a bit more, decide we desperately need the rice to give a bit of respite to the chilli heat.

An age passes by and I'm beginning to think theres a bloody paddy field out back, that would be the ultimate bit of local sourcing, would it not.

Eventually, and with some cajoling from us both it arrives to save the day.


Next up and looking decidedly like the previous dish, even down to the same ingredients was Quick fried Chicken cumin and chilli (£8.80)

Again pleasant enough, or thats perhaps a bit mean as it was very enjoyable but I am not getting any sechuan peppercorns or much chilli oil ( they make their own ) The chicken is tender and the dish benefits from the addition of cumin (which we love).

The closest dish that I can order which in any way resembles the famous Red Chilli Lamb hot pot is this dish.


Sliced Beef sichuan style topped with chilli and sichuan pepper (£8.80).

Now this is closer to the real deal, yes I know its not lamb, but eventually we have the sichuan peppercorns in abundance. A slick of chilli oil, a forest of beansprouts buried deep within.

The beef is plentyful, moist within and tender to the bite.

A good dish.


I ordered this Aubergine dish (£6.80) and can not remember what it is listed as, but I'll tell you what it was bloody gorgeous, the sauce was delish, I think there was some chinkiang vinegar and soy in there , would have loved the recipe off the chef as it was top notch. The aubergine melted in the mouth I was sad to see it finally disappear from the plate.

We enjoyed the food at Chilli Cool, its no where near as hot as Red Chilli, which may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view.

The chicken and prawn dishes were comparable with what we have eaten in Manchester. The beef dish was not as inspiring as the Spicy Lamb in Red Chilli but still very good. As you know the Aubergine was very good indeed.


Portion sizes were good, however when you subtract the chillies this is reduced somewhat.

Pricing is a bit higher in London, our bill including a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Saint Clair, a 10% service charge came to £56.60. Not bad I suppose for a huge mound of food.

Service here was poor, in fact it was piss poor. I despair at having to pay service charge when the service is virtually non existant.

I nearly complained, which would have annoyed my wife as she does not like fuss, however I noticed on my bill they had charged me the lower price for the wine.

The wine I wanted was out of stock so they offered a higher value one but charged the lower price.

No complaints then

Service apart, we enjoyed ourselves and in the main we thought the food very good.

For a chilli hit and if your in the vicinity this place is worth seeking out, but be really careful on those bloody stairs.

Edited by david goodfellow (log)

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Had a decent post-theatre supper in May at Golden Day, on Shaftesbury Avenue,just on the outskirts of London's Chinatown. Hunanese cooking - lots of chili spice.

Came off a mention on Chowhound's UK board (which, although I've decided not to play there any more as I don't generally find it much cop, is quite good for lower end "ethnic" London reccs - mainly down to a couple of posters who obviously like that sort of thing a lot).

John Hartley

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It's much more rough n ready than red chilli, more of an adventure. went a few months ago. we started in the 'wrong restaurant' there are two with the same name one does hot pot only i think, and their english isn't great, i seem to think we were explaining we had booked, they were saying go next door. we got there in the end.

food was good, but it's filed under cheap eats rather than evening out, in my book. would happily return.

you don't win friends with salad

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