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Britta Jaschinski / Time Out
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Oct 16 2012
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.
Ba Shan 24 Romilly Street
- Venue phone:
020 7287 3266
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Meals served noon-11pm Mon-Thur, Sun; noon-11.30pm Fri, Sat
Tube: Leicester Square tube
Main courses £8.90-£16.90
- 24 Romilly Street
- 020 7287 3266
- 24 Romilly Street
- Ba Shan
Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:5
Finally I've found this place! This is the best Chinese food I've had outside of China! Proper authentic dishes in a very Chinese setting. The diners were mainly Chinese, however the staff were friendly and accomodating (when I asked for a customised version of a dish). It looks expensive, but if you eat as you would in China (buy a few dishes to share) then it works out less than £20 a head. Completely different to the 'sweety-sticky-samey' stuff you get in Chinatown.
Went to Ba Shan and had an absolutely amazing meal last night. I don't think I've had Chinese food as good anywhere outside of China. It was fairly spicy, as could be predicted and the service is standard. Anyone not into good, spicy Chinese food or basic service should look elsewhere. Having said that, I don't think I've had warm cuddly service at ANY Chinese restaurant anywhere in the world, so those who complain about service are perhaps just expecting a different standard. Standout dishes were Ma Po Doufu, Yu Xiang Qie Zie, cumin spare ribs, and dry-fried green beans. Will definitely be back!
2 mins walk from the Z Hotel, I grabbed a quick main course before they closed on a Monday night. The staff were friendly and the menu exciting. I ordered a shredded beef main course and some noodles which both were the saltiest dishes I've ever eaten. I asked if that was normal and I was promised it was but I couldn't eat it. I was refunded the main course without asking which was good but 24 hours later I'm suffering which is inconvenient on a business trip. Hugely disappointed with a quality recommendation
Best Chinese food I've had in the UK. The service was fine and quick but the food is the real star here. It's hot, it's spicy and I hadn't seen many of the dishes on other Chinese menus in the UK before. Don't expect western style comfort or service, this is a whole other experience. Will definitely return.
We had dinner at Ba Shan last night and after reading all the reviews about terrible service, we were very pleasantly surprised! We were greeted in a very friendly manner and immediately seated, were able to order when we wanted to and the food all arrived in good time. We also got a very happy response when we asked to box up the food that we had over-ordered! Particular highlights were the Pock-marked old lady bean curd, the fish fragrant aubergine and the smacked cucumber. Delicious, all of them. We'll be going back and taking reinforcements so we can try some more dishes!
Just awful. Poor service with aggressive up-selling, made to feel very unwelcome with limited table time, too many offal dishes sold at premium cut prices, £9 for cabbage in vinegar was laughable - Avoid!
Ba Shan disappointment. Having looked at several review sites, this place got generally high scores. We ate here yesterday. We love spicy hot food. The interior is well, ok. The hard chairs would make your nether regions go numb after an hour. We shared chicken strips and noodles in a spicy chilli oil dressing (£7.50), and it was delightfully hot and crunchy. I ordered deep fried king prawns (£17), and my wife shredded lamd with chilli, ginger and spring onions (£11). We had 2 Chinese beers (£7.00), and rice for two (£3.60). Our bill was £50 inc service charge. The king prawns were ok - prawns in batter with a slightly spicy sauce. The lamb dish was pretty tasteless and boring. The bill was not itemised, which always gives you the feeling that they are ripping you off. Frankly, our local chinese takeaway would compete evenly on food quality for Ba Shan, and at a fraction of the price. The foodie reviewers clearly had a bad day when they rated this very average establishment.
Such a shame as most of the food was lovely when it eventually came. The manager was incredibly rude - we were a large party and a couple of people were ill. As it became apparent there were two spaces he came marching downstairs to shout at us that we had ruined his service as he could have used more tables (the place was empty). In order to stay we had to promise that we would leave in two hours. After two minutes of finally sitting down we were being pressed for our order and told to hurry. The food comes as it is cooked which is fine normally but the rice was served after a lot of the courses had already come out. Many of our orders were wrong but we were so concerned over time we took them as they were thrown at us. We had one lovely waitress who was clearly embarressed but everyone else was just plain rude. The whole time we were looking at our watches and made sure we were ready to leave after a couple of hours. At which point they were trying to encourage more drinking - we looked upstairs and it was empty so they were keen to keep us spending hence the change in tune. When the bill came they wouldn't give us an itemised bill - at which point we were exhausted with arguing over our dinner we gave up. They had clearly overcharged and neglected to take off the food that was never delivered to the table. I'm not one for fussy service - all I ask is that you are made to feel a little welcome - just a smile is fine. This was a horrible night, overpriced (a plate of steamed greens was £8.90 - and that is all they were) and we all felt pretty miserable when we left. Some of the food was lovely though, it is 'authentic' as I used to eat in China, however there are several places within spitting distance that are cheaper, and you may even get a smile. You have been warned!
Possibly the best Chinese I've ever had - although if you don't like chilli, think twice! The steamed fish was absolutely delicious, and pretty good value too. Some of the staff were a little stern and without a sense of humour, but the food made up for it and I'll go again
I'm Chinese and I would highly recommend the food here. Ignore the service - for most Chinese people restaurant is just a place for food not a place for service. Also this is not szechuan cuisine - it's more like Hunan, which is also hot and spicy, but without too much peppercorn. If you can't stand hot and spicy food, i doubt there's anything good on the menu. But if you do love hot and spicy food, like me, I'm sure you'll love this place!
The rudeness of the staff was only matched by the rudeness of the manager. We went as a group of four, one of us was a vegan and discovered that there was nothing on the menu she could eat. The rest of us placed our order. We were then informed by the waiter than our order should come to a minimum of GBP 10 per person. While this annoyed us slightly, we ordered some more food anyway. We were then told that it still didn't come to GBP 10 per person because there were 4 of us and so the total bill should be GBP40. We explained that one of us wasn't eating because she's a vegan. The waiter was rude and said that it was the restaurant policy, if four people have booked a table, the minimum bill must be 40 pounds. I asked to speak with the manager and explained to him our situation. I was then told then I was not his problem, my friend was not his problem, and that he was running a business and so must stick to his policy. I asked if i could complain somewhere about this policy. He told me to go to the police if I had a complaint. There was absolutely no regard for customer satisfaction. I am never going back there again.
The food was good, steamed pak choi excellent, portions generous. It's mostly spicy but the spice level is graded 1, 2 or 3 and you can remove the chillies from the food if they are served on top. Steamed rice only. West End prices but the food was tasty, the service quick and they have nice non-alcoholic juices such as lychee and strawberry.
the food is spicy, but that's a good thing for a szechuan restaurant and it's easy to form an addiction to the menu. we came to ba shan when it first opened and were slightly disappointed. the menu back then featured some random dumplings (overpriced and teeny tiny) and some momofuku style pork buns (which we miss dearly). when barshu was closed, we came here for our fix and now can't stay away. whilst it felt like they sold out when the shiny picture menus appeared, the food is still good and becomes even more authentically tasty when you look at the amount of oriental diners happily noshing next to you. ba shan is best enjoyed with a small group of food loving friends with huge appetites so you can order all of the delicious starters, and still have room for the mains, of which the soupy beef thing and any of the beans are a sure bet. the ma po tofu was a bit disappointing - until you order the dish from any other restaurant and realise this is probably the best ma po tofu in town. service here is really touch and go. nine out of ten times the captain extends a cold greeting and waiting diners are made to feel like pests and hustled like cattle around the tiny foyer to the restaurant. this type of attitude is very irritating at a place with their price point. they also table turn, which is quite annoying if you forget when ordering and end up with too much food and not enough time to eat it. but most of the time the waiters and waitresses we've had are attentive and polite, which makes the dining experience bearable. so until a new place opens with the same caliber of food and better service opens in chinatown, ba shan will have to do.