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Red Chilli Chinese restaurant


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It's just the soft tripe I'll be dealing with to begin with... I have to pass my City and Guilds 8171/2 in Advanced Abomasum and Mesenterium Management before they'll let me touch the honeycomb tripe.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why he got the job.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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I haven't been here unfortunately-but if you like tripe(not the disgusting soft version)that chilli-shredded pigs' maw should be a wonderful dish.

Mmmm - this is a spectacular option, a fiery chilli sauce coats a dish of long shreds of meat. The meat is cold and has a memorable melting texture. The cool smoothness of the meat works perfectly with the fire of the chilli.

And I have to order the spring onion bread on all visits as a greasy, savoury delight.

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Well, just got back from Manchester.

Managed to squeeze in two lunchtime trips to Red Chilli and was suitably impressed.

First trip I had the previously mentioned spicy mixed meat clay pot. With the warnings from culinary bear and Thom still fresh I didn't order anything else (Couldn't persuade anyone else to go!). It was fantastic - the pig skin was a little too much texture over taste for me, but I managed a few strips (there was quite a lot in mine!). Surprise was the beancurd, first time it has really made sense to me - it absorbed the sauce wonderfully well, but still had some of it's fried texture left. I was really hungry and absolutely stuffed myself, but still only got 2/3rds through it, and I left some rice too. Absolute bargain.

Second trip I obviously tried the chilli poached lamb! I also ordered the french beans with minced pork. Enough has been said on the pork dish - I'll just like to mention either culinary bear got a whimpy version or he miscounted, There were a lot more than 20 chillies in mine! The beans were fantastic though, another one to add on the list of dishes to try, they were probably quite spicy, but obviously overshadowed by the lamb, but they were perfectly cooked, salty, spicy with a vinegary kick from I think black vinegar and preserved vegetables. I'd have been quite happy with just those and a bowl of rice.

There were so many things I wanted to try on the menu too - has anyone even tried any of the chicken dishes yet? I bet the home style tofu is pretty good too and some more of the pork dishes, I almost tried the Mt City Duet pork guessing it was a variant on double cooked pork - should of asked.

BTW anyone got a clue what 'molly' is? It's in a couple of the clay pot dishes.

Couple of general points about the place -

Don't like to make sweeping generalisations but, those chinese can pack a bit away can't they? Next to me two youngish lads ordered 3 cold appetisers, a hotpot dish, 2 stirfried dishes, soup, rice and a giant bowl of crispy noodles. The other tables looked quite similar, if less extreme. I felt like a bit of cheapskate with one dish!

The portion size and pricing is rather bizarre, the clay pot and poached dishes are as we have mentioned huge and easily enough for two on their own. But a simple portion of greens is only a quid cheaper, and a lot smaller. I reckon the poached lamb dish has about the same amount of greens in it as a full portion.

It might be less confusing (especially for us western types!) if they standardised the portions a bit, maybe reduced the prices (And portion sizes) on some things to make it easier for small groups or solo diners to get a varied selection without wasting food (Something I hate doing). Maybe mark the 'big' dishes as for 2-3 people, and up the price a bit?

I'm sure they would do smaller portions if you asked - I heard a waiter ask two ladies if they wanted a smaller portion of something.

One slight moan about the place - if you want to try and make your restaurant stand out from the rest of chinatown (Which they are obviously doing) and be a more modern contemporary restaurant then keeping all your cleaning stuff, along with a giant vat of cooking oil clearly labelled 'economy' is not a fab idea....

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Matt and I were clearly thinking, given the pre-dinner beers, that we were seeing double and halved what we saw in order to get what we thought was an accurate count. :)

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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I'm sure 'molly' is mooli-aka white radish. Good point about portion size in Chinese restaurants-anything invloving whole fish, chickens etc,and hotpot type dishes are usually amazing value. In good places greens can seem expensive, but actually gai laan, choisam, ong choi and peasprouts are expensive-and a real treat at good places. Avoid all chinese restaurants that offer only stir-fried and deep-fried dishes.

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Matt and I were clearly thinking, given the pre-dinner beers, that we were seeing double and halved what we saw in order to get what we thought was an accurate count. :)

Normally a good idea - the chilli hit must have snapped you out of it!

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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I'm sure 'molly' is mooli-aka white radish. Good point about portion size in Chinese restaurants-anything invloving whole fish, chickens etc,and hotpot type dishes are usually amazing value. In good places greens can seem expensive, but actually gai laan, choisam, ong choi and peasprouts are expensive-and a real treat at good places. Avoid all chinese restaurants that offer only stir-fried and deep-fried dishes.

The good thing, from my point of view about Red Chilli isn't just the fact it does these things, which many other restaurants offer (Maybe not all of the spicier options, but hotpot dishes etc) but the fact that they print them on the English menu and encourage you to try them.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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On portion size - ate at the Leeds branch last week and tried a 'christmas special' set meal. This was a vegetarian feast starting with hot and sour soup, followed by a plate of appetisers (spring roll, tempura fried mushrooms, mock chicken yakitori style, seaweed and two very good 'milk balls' which were a sort of custard, not overly sweet fried in tempura batter). This would have been enough but there then appeared full size dishes of (i) Mrs Spotty's Beancurd, (ii) a very spicy and delicious stir fried dish with much chilli and shreds of things I didn't recognise (hadn't studied the menu at length before ordering), (iii) a soothing dish of juicy bok choi and chinese mushrooms which perfectly balanced the heat of the other two mains and (iv) a large portion of rice stir-fried with crunchy vegetables.

All this for me and my newspaper at lunch, all this for £12. Despite my greed I could only make limited inroads into the mains and the waitresses kindly offered me takeaway and returned the leftovers neatly packaged. I noticed that they were doing this for quite a few of the westerners in the restaurant and its certainly a bonus to be able to take home your next meal.

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Another year, another trip to Red Chilli...

Actually, my last trip was technically in 2005, but I'm planning to be en route again next week.

Anyway, the trip as ever was excellent. We (my better half and I) didn't go crazy, but we did have:

*Cod slices with chilli

As recommended by Bertie, though when I saw him eat this I'm sure the cod was unadorned but on this occassion I was slightly worried that it was in a batter. Luckily the batter was light enough to be almost undiscernable except was the slightest texture, and it helped hold the delicious sauce to the fish. The chillis gave it a pleasing heat, unless you ate them instead of admiring them for garnish, at which point they really had some poke. All in all, a hit.

*Gung Bo chicken

I think the spelling is right, though it is a variation on the dish that is spelt 'kung po' or 'gung bo' in various other establishments. Basically it is a sweet, chilli sauce dish and is chavvy, lowbrow, and a disgrace to select off such a wonderfully exotic menu. My girlfriend picked it. I have to say though, this was a pretty good example. Sweetness and spice were well-balanced, and it was nicely reduced to a stick coating making it very moreish. The whole peanuts sprinkled through the dish worked well too.

*Braised pork belly with preserved chinese cabbage

This was a belter, and what could be better on a frosty winter lunchtime - pork, fat, cabbage, slow cooking. Mmmm... It was basically your typical star anise heavy chinese pork belly, but again a very, very good version. The fat just melted away, (courtesy of four hours cooking) and the flavour was fantastic, and well complimented by the soggy but delicious cabbage which seemed almost stewed.

Add to this a couple of nice glasses of wine and a good time was had by all. I must admit we stuggled to get through it all but as noted above a doggy bag was suggested and it was all parcelled up for us to pick at that evening.

Yum.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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Having a look at the menu it seems that there is a kung bo on the anglicised menu and a gong-bo on the 'spicy' menu. But looking at the chinese characters for the 'kung bo king prawn' and the 'gong bo prawn' they appear to be the same!

A genuine gong bao/kung po etc etc is a perfectly fine and authentic dish and can be delicious (The recipe in Fuschia Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery is pretty good) Only problem is in most places it is just sweet and sour with an added spoonfull of chilli powder.

Someone has got to try the 'Blessed the Whole Family' soon - just so we know what it is!

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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A genuine gong bao/kung po etc etc is a perfectly fine and authentic dish and can be delicious

I always knew my Soph was a classy lady of taste and discretion.

And you're right, someone has to have the 'Blessed the Family' dish, and really we should give the 'Husband and Wife Lung Slices' a go too.

In the name of research I'll take one of them next time I go if someone will pick up the spare?

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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You are on Thom- as long as you don't dip on me again, feigning too much work and then read egullet all afternoon :raz:

Incidentally, I went with a friend a weeks back and thought the Gung-bo prawn off the "spicy" menu, was the weakest dish we tried.

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You are on Thom- as long as you don't dip on me again, feigning too much work and then read egullet all afternoon :raz:

Incidentally, I went with a friend a weeks back and thought the Gung-bo prawn off the "spicy" menu, was the weakest dish we tried.

You bugger, when you questioned my work load I thought you had clocked me scampering through Picaddily station with my organic M&S bread and dried fruit and nuts (part of a squirrel-like new year health kick).

Anyway, I merely have eGullet ticking away in the background whilst I pile through copy-proofing and eye-watering operations spreadsheets. I consider it vital executive stress relief to have the occasional flit through the forums.

Consider it a shaken deal - Husband and wife slices and blessed the family for us the next time we go. Last two weeks in January are looking pretty good for me.

I have to admit though that as a company (only five of us in the office I admit) we are having a Red Chilli takeaway tomorrow (our local greasy spoon is on holiday so the holy Friday ritual of communal homemade cheese and onion pie, chips and gravy is on hold for a week). I'm sure it will be the best eating at my desk I've ever had.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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And you're right, someone has to have the 'Blessed the Family' dish, and really we should give the 'Husband and Wife Lung Slices' a go too.

Friend and I had a very good meal at the Leeds branch last night .... but couldn't see the "Blessed the Family" dish ... are we missing out on this side of the Pennines?!

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  • 2 months later...

After several false starts I finally managed a meal at the Leeds branch on Friday. We went for the vegetarian set meal to make up for a weekend in France when my veggie wife got a bit of a raw deal.

We started out with an egg and tomato soup, instantly outshone by a vegetarian sour soup which was simply wonderful. Starters included the best spring rolls I've ever tasted, seaweed and a very refreshing green bean salad with sesame. We weren't entirely sure about the pastry and beansprout salad, almost gelatinous wide noodles that were tasty but an odd texture and slightly beyond our chopstick skill level.

Mains were beancurd in oyster sauce which was very moreish and baby corn with pine kernels which didn't quite work for me. The highlight was sizzling aubergine in blackbean sauce. Poured into a hot dish at the table it was almost a health and safety hazard as it spat hot oil everywhere but tasted divine.

Hardly anyone on egullet seems to have finished a meal at Red Chilli, and after the starters I was feeling good. But halfway through the mains we just hit a brick wall and so walked out with doggie bag. £48 inluding wine for 2 was great value. It was really busy, yet tables were turned around in seconds without nayone being rushed.

Now has anyone made it to the dessert menu, what on earth is donkey rolled in mud?

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Now has anyone made it to the dessert menu, what on earth is donkey rolled in mud?

I'm not entirely sure, although I've heard it'll cost you 50 quid down the docks on a Saturday night...

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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  • 1 month later...

I've read this thread with interest.I have visited the establishment at least a dozen times & my experiences have ranged from very good to utterly abysmal.

The restaurant is owned by Chi Yip Limited,a Manchester Wholesale Cash & Carry Group.The concept is good & the Manchester operation is well run.

When Leeds first opened,they shipped chefs and staff across the M62 & whilst there were initial teething problems,the service was ok and the food was quite good.

The pick your own meat with a sauce of your choice option at lunchtime is to be strictly avoided as it resembles chinese buffet meets weigh and save.

However,as some of the posts show,the menu is interesting & shies away from the normal Cantonese rubbish dished up in Leeds,with some very tasty and interesting dishes.

But yesterday I had a horror of a visit.I was with a Leeds and a Manchester Restauranteur.

We were shown to a table at the rear of the restaurant and then completely ignored by the staff for 15 minutes.

The spikey haired kid of a waiter was mire interested in his blue tooth earpiece than paying attention to us.

Scallops to start were ok,if a little salty and the duck was good.

I have had the salt and pepper flaked cod there on 4/5 occasions.It comes as a full piece of flaky fish and resembles blackened Cod.

What arrived this time was a dish that Captain Birdseye had created.Cod goujons which were tasteless,battered,rubbery & very average.When I told the waiter he had brought the wrong dish,he told me it was always like this and that I must have had the other version in Manchester!

We then ordered Painter Daq's Chicken.I had eaten this dish in Leeds 4/5 times before and it is excellent.Piquant Spring Chicken with a hell of a kick to it created by dried chillis.What arrived had come from The Colonel's Bargain Bucket.Again,the dish was nothing like before and had been battered and deep fried.It was changed under extreme protest,with the explanation that the picture in the menu is of a different dish to the description.

To be fair,the Turbot was freshly and perfectly cooked and the noodles were fresh and hot but my main observation is that this restaurant is very up and down and is not as well run as Manchester.It's a shame because if they get their act together,they would clean up as there are no alternatives of any quality in Leeds.

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I'll second that blimey.

Fi and I went on Tuesday and ordered enough for a small army. Spotty beancurd, fish fragrant pork slivers, dry friend beans, dan dan noodles, dumplings, gung bao chicken, hot and fragrant crab and pickled vegetables. And some rice. I don't know what posessed us because we didn't eat a mouthful of it.

Anyway, I wonder if we could have ordered a more balanced meal (rather than our strategy of just ordering everything that looked delicious- I swear Fi would have ordered more...) because other than the pickled veggies, you could level the critisism that all of the food is protein + spice. However, we wanted to try lots of things and balance was far from our minds. Best dishes for me were the fish fragrant pork slivers and the spotty beancurd, although I do think the spotty beancurd at red chilli is better. It's more savory and several notches spicer. That said, the texture was just amazing- this is probably my ultimate comfort food.

Strikes me that I don't really have the vocabulary to talk about the nuances of this meal. Certainly the fish fragrant pork slivers were a wonderful mixture of sweet, crunchy, spicy and umami but I know I'm not doing it justice.

Overall I am very excited about this place. They were busy on a Tuesday with a mainly Chinese crowd. Service is sweet and good natured and they radioed the kitchen to find out which seafood was freshest that day (we couldn't decide between crab and prawns, they recommended the crab, we ordered both, it was that kind of night) If you want hot pot after 7.00pm you have to call in advance, but it looked amazing. I think it would be a good thing to have in a group. PM me if you fancy doing this with me one night. Pricewise, it's not inexpensive. Ignoring the banqueting menu, mains go up to £22 but the quality of the crab was high, so we had no complaints.

I'd go back tonight for the fish-fragrant pork you know.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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Someone, who wasn't quite as impressed with the Hotpot as others. Mr Maj

That crab dish looks wonderful though.

Edit- I seem to have hijacked the Red Chilli thread- perhaps Bar Shu should have its own thread.

Edited by Bapi (log)
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I had two lunches from the leftovers, though, Suzi (er - now that I think about it, one lunch and one breakfast - eek)!

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just had a great lunch at Red Chilli Leeds. Took the kids and so largely had to play it safe but was suprised by how good the standard dishes were -aromatic duck, house special platter ect. The sizzling beef fillet & black fungus with sweet spicy sauce was really tender and tasted delicious. Can't wait for my next visit and something more adventurous! :smile:

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