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Gary Marshall

Red Chilli Chinese restaurant

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I would have bet strong money that I would never utter the words

" Had a poor meal at Red Chilli", but I just have.

I was looking forward to my overdue chilli fix today, but on the way to a rain soaked Manchester I formed a pact with my wife to not have the lamb hotpot, which is a stalwart, that I always order.

Early evening was about a third full and the service was the normal laid back slow.

Glancing at the above posts before we left I decided to take Thom's advice and look for the Rabbit specials as we are partial to a bit of bunny. Sadly there were none.

We did however chose another special.

Sexy aubergine couple with honest lamb & coriander in clay pot.

Well, I missed Thom's comment above, sad to say, as this dish is gobsmackingly poor.

It looked completely unappetising when it arrived at the table. The dish was devoid of flavour except for the coriander and a slight lamby undertone. The aubergine was tasteless and the broth was as murky as the pavement puddles that we had trudged through.

A really poor dish.

Gongbao chicken was the first dish we ever ordered here and this latest rendition was as good as the first. So no problem there, thank goodness.

Salt and pepper soft shell Crab arrived looking as appealing as ever and its normal portion size as generous as we remember..

However, the dish had stood about for some time, so instead of the batter being crispy it was soggy and slightly offputting.

The crab itself was tasty, thank god or I would have sent this back.

I was really disappointed with the meal and it did cross my mind to complain, but quite frankly I really could not bring myself to do it.

We spoke briefly to the manager as we left. He was on meet and greet duty so we had to be brief.

He is always happy and friendly with us so I did not discuss the food but sad to report ,you Brummies will not be getting a Red Chilli, your loss will be London and Newcastle's gain. They are also having a look at Reading.

We are of the opinion that this freak event will not happen again, so it will not stop us going back


Edited by david goodfellow (log)

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Edited by david goodfellow (log)

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suggested to my mate that we changed our post york races curry venue from akbars to red chilli (across the road from each other conveniently) , we wavered at the door as thoughts of lamb chops arose but headed into red chilli anyway.

I'd warned him it wasn't a usual york restaurant and he let me order so we got straight on ordering some beijing dumplings as they take the time, followed eventually by suprisingly the pork & beans, and crispy beef , plus some steamed pork buns and egg fried.

the waitress said the pork buns would also take 10 minutes so i said just bring it when it's ready, which they took literally and in a dash we got the pork and beans, the beef, a moment later the beijing and then the pork buns! Not a problem in the end as we were starving.

All up to scratch.


you don't win friends with salad

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Dinner for one please !

Finally making it up to Manc and will try out the (in)famous Red Chilli, but will be on my tod, which means that realistically I can't order quite as much as I'd maybe like.

The hot poached lamby thing I think would leave me no space for anything else, so I'm wondering if dumplings, spring onion bread and the beans/pork/chilli dish might be (a) a good general intro and (b) not so much food that I'm going to be sick....

anyone want to agree/disagree/suggest anything different ?

ta

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you'll be fine with that, though the bread works better with soupier dishes like the hot pot.


you don't win friends with salad

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I'm happy to eat the bread on its own - its yummy!

Me too - the bread is a standard feature of the lunchtime deal and it is excellent

David

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never seen it on the lunchtime special , but i think they do consider it a 'course'rather than accompaniment as we have spent 10 mins with a plate of bread in front of us waiting for the hot pot, and when i asked it came straight out.


you don't win friends with salad

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so yeah, the lamb hot pot is.. hot! It did help clear out my cold though!

I wasn't exactly sure which dish it was but the waitress seemed to know what i meant. It was nice, but i think it was a little bit too much heat for me. Had some lovely dim sum too. My only "complaint" was that the portions were so big that so much food seemed to go to waste.

I can see it would be best going there with a really big group of folk to sample more dishes. I'll certainly be making another visit anyway as it looks like i'll be in leeds more often :)

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Finally got into Manchester this evening.

What a slick operation they're running. Staff very much on the ball - with stuff like drinks orders, clearing crockery, resetting tables.

Started with the Beijing dumplings. Well made dumpling, pleasant filling, nice vinegary dip. Nothing to write home about though.

Much better was the other starter - cucumber with crushed garlic sauce. Nicely spicy and crunchy - we hung on to most of it till the mains arrived - made for a good contrast of texture.

First main - braised pork belly with preserved cabbage. You often hear of someone describing food as "melt in the mouth" - you could take it almost literally with this dish. The meat was just fab. Preserved cabbage formed a sauce with something sweetish. It came with some stalks of choi sum. Not sure which region this comes from - the sweetness makes me think Cantonese but, wherever, it's a belter of a dish.

Second main - the green beans with chili and pork. A standout dish. Crunchy beans with the pork providing a flavouring rather being a main event. And it was certainly hot enough - wouldnt ewant to eat anything hotter than that , thanks very much. Just the sort of dish you can imagine feeding a family of six, in rural China.

And that is another thing. Portions are bloody enormous.

I drank a pint of lime & soda. Herself mnaged a G & T and a pint of lager. Bill for food came to £25. Drinks added another £9. Bargain eating experience if ever there was one.


John Hartley

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the pork is under 'stir fried french beans and pork'

had it last night post races, dumplings as per and a hot pot for the first time in ages, it was probably the hottest one i've had.

think i've got my mate suitably addicted now.


you don't win friends with salad

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the pork is under 'stir fried french beans and pork'

had it last night post races, dumplings as per and a hot pot for the first time in ages, it was probably the hottest one i've had.

think i've got my mate suitably addicted now.

Cheers Gary - think I'll have to try the lunch next time i'm in leeds :)

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went there last friday, awesome stuff, razor clams, chilli squid to start then braised pork joint and whole sea bass with stir fried veg and a sauce which had an extremely tough guy or chicken amount of chilli in and around.

pork and sea bass were just too delicious i'm always a bit cautious about ordering a good fish in some places but this was so perfectly cooked i couldn't believe i was in a supposed Chinese restaurant.

that with a jade rice (beautiful with juicy chunks of prawns in) noodles and egg fried rice was so much food. feasted on it for the rest of the weekend.

did somehow 'lose' a £20 note in the bill. we all counted the bill before we left the table then Mr Wong came out saying we hadn't given him the right money. so as not to cause a fuss i just gave him the extra 20 and my number. 2 days later he called up and said he has found the £20 which was very honest he could have simply forgotten about it or carried on with his waiters story. will be going back for sure when im next in the area.

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Nice story about the £20. It's a refreshing bit of honesty, in many restaurants that would have gone straight in a pocket, or at best a tips jar.

Jealous you tried the razor clams too, i went last week and the specials list had about four razor clam dishes on it all of which tempted. Sadly I was with someone who claimed to have tried Red Chilli three times in large parties and had not been wowwed on any occassion so naturally I was compelled to hit him with double whammy of hot poached lamb and spring onion bread.

He's one of us now...

I'm due back there on Tuesday and unless they've cleared their job-lot of intriguing seafood I'm going to be treating myself to one of the razor clam variations. Which dish did you plump for Eatenmess?

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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im not too sure, it was off a separate specials menu, it wasnt too hot and it was slightly sticky with a few cooked chilli in there.

its not everyday someone is honest. he seems a really nice chap though, was talking to him about hong kong and china and what not.

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Yeah, it was a seperate specials menu which was a loose set of four or page laminated pages.

Your one sounds like it might be razor clam in the infamous "grandma's sauce" which crops up all over the standard menu; it looked damn rich and sticky in the picture and that was the dish which caught my eye.

Yum, roll on Tuesday.

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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Don't you just hate it when you're the only punter in a place throughout the whole time you're there?

I was out and about this morning and remembered that Red Chilli has a branch in the land that time forgot - or Atherton as the locals call it.

The menu's a bit different from the Manchester one - for instance there's no french beans with pork - although there is just french beans with chilli. And some of the more offaly offerings don't seem to be there. However, truth be told, I was feeling a little off colour and didnt think I could face anything particularly challenging.

So, gongbao chicken and boiled rice. Enormous portion (which I almost managed to clear) - peanuts providing crunch; chilli more than a background flavouring; halved cloves of almost raw garlic giving a "twang". Good dish - I liked this a lot.


John Hartley

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Another visit to Leeds - Spring onion bread and Stir fried french beans with minced pork were both excellent as expected! The heat on the beans was perfect, not too hot and it complemented the flavours of the beans and pork without drowning them out

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The drop in temperature this week meant red chilli has gone right up the list of places i fancy eating in at the moment, and friday lunchtime provided an excuse for a trip.

I went with two RC virgins and had warmed them up for my recommended dishes (no prizes for guessing) beforehand and they were happy for me to order, though proving that they can't be trusted, the minute my back was turned i came back to the table to discover prawn crackers had been ordered, no, no, no, all stomach capacity would be required!

First up beijing dumplings and crack dipping sauce, i could eat these all day long, also guotie dumplings which this time seemed to have a slightly different filling to the beijing and a different sauce, in york they're virtually identical. (there's definitely variations between branches on many subtle things).

Made the mistake of saying to bring all the mains when ready and that meant they were arriving as we were scoffing the starters but no great issue.

pork and beans were declared the number one dish, quite chilli hot , nicely oily, a great winter dish. Second favourite was the hot pot, though i notice it is now billed as mutton, not lamb, and this one was lacking in the 'maggot' chillis entirely, whether this was them thinking we couldn't handle the truth - i mean the chilli or a change of style i don't know, but it was a shadow of its hottest self but still hot enough to be interesting and was declared a success. Final dish the more mainstream crispy shredded fillet beef, which was in third place, the proper RC dishes were clear favourites! rice and spring onion bread completed, and with a few beers and tea £20 a head.

another couple of converts :wink:


you don't win friends with salad

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Lunch in Manchester.

Braised pork belly with preserved cabbage.

Mountain of tasty, slithery, fatty piggy. The cabbage in with the small amount of clingy sauce giving a savoury/salty note. Some briefly cooked choi sum providing crunch. Absolutely lovely.

As an aside, I was gobsmacked at the amount of food being tackled by the various young thin Chinese couples also lunching. Vast. Simply vast.


John Hartley

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Talking of vast amounts, I took a freind there recently and between us ordered five starters and a couple of mains, thinking we'd make an afternoon of it but there's only so much you can eat!

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Went to the Manchester branch last night, and quite frankly wasn't impressed.

Serving staff seemed to have perfected not making eye contact, spilling drinks without mopping up and serving across people while they are eating.

I was the only meat eater and had S&P Squid, Crystal Layer Pigs Ears and Mrs Spotty's Bean Curd.

The Squid was passable, but lacked freshness and punch. The Pigs ears were rather good in their slithery, porky, crunchiness, while the Mapo Dofu wasn't the best rendition I've had (I think I prefer the one at Red n Hot), but definitely better than I can make at home.

The three other diners all went for the 18GBP Vegetarian Banquet. Gave me the chance to try the spring onion bread, which was really greasy, under-seasoned and hadn't even been nodded at by a spring onion; the other elements of the banquet were equally forgettable.

Going by the other reviews on this thread, I'm putting the whole experience down to a particularly bad night for the kitchen and FoH so will not discount returning.

As a slight aside, I thought the wine list a touch odd. Nothing really on there that matched the food. Might give them a call to have a chat about that...


Itinerant winemaker

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