The warren of distressed hutong rooms and twanging music might make patrons of this Hunanese eaterie feel like extras in Kill Bill. Posters celebrate Mao’s paeans to chilli-fuelled revolution – ironic, we hope, but it’s hard to tell when the service tends to the authentically brusque. Unfortunately, the kitchen seems to have rested on its laurels of late, and prices have crept higher. The once-famously fiery dishes have been toned down for non-Chinese (who account for a decided minority of diners), so it’s worth a word with staff if you’re after genuine western Chinese heat. Otherwise, stick to dishes displaying the double chilli icon. The most fun and expensive choice on the menu is the whole sea bass in red chilli, de-boned at your table should you wish and served in a big bowl of broth – ideally soaked up by a second serving of noodles. Pork dumplings were tasty if unremarkable; green chilli-stuffed shrimp looked great but lacked pungency. Beancurd puffs were crunchy-sticky goodness. The kitchen also produces a serviceable General Tso’s chicken, for more mainstream tastes. Ba Shan is much more enjoyable and civilised than many local competitors; it’s still popular too, so reservations are highly recommended.