If you’re a first-timer at this new Sichuan spot, a word of advice: take their spice ratings seriously. The menu is categorised by the level of spiciness (one, to three), with three being the hottest, and for some even category one is a first-degree burn.
If you go for the set menu (around $200 per person), diners get six courses to share. This includes all the wonders of the Sichuan kitchen such as ‘mouth-water chicken’ and tan tan noodles. But if you go the a la carte route, as we did, then it’s important to remember everything on the menu is simply named and does not feature an English description of the wonders each dish holds. For example, the ‘hot spicy beef’ ($30) is an understated way of saying thinly sliced beef shins doused in chilli powder, chilli oil, and chillis. They should rename this dish ‘death-by-chilli beef’. This has a rating of three on their scale, but felt like a ten on our tongues.
We asked for a cooling dish of marinated cucumbers ($15) to bring our taste buds back to earth. This had a rating of two, and with this dish we found our comfort level. The sweet vinegar cut the spiciness of the chillis and the cucumber calmed our tongues. “The first one always hurts the most,” my Korean friend noted. The pork and veggie dumpling ($50), meanwhile, was a pleasant, even-keeled taste sensation. “There’s cinnamon in this, very slight,” my friend observed; if you haven’t burnt off your taste buds, you’ll get a subtle hint of cinnamon as well. My nose smelled it, but the tongue had long expired.
Our favourite was the yinbin noodles (hotness level three, $40). Instant noodles dressed with soy sauce, chilli oil, sesame oil, sugar, a drop of vinegar, green onions, preserved vegetables, peanuts, and lots of pepper. But if you don’t like things salty, stay away from this dish.
For a private kitchen that does not have much going for it in way of décor, service, or visibility, this place is certainly making up for it with its food and its cheap (for Central) prices.
5/F, Winner’s Bldg, 37 D’Aguilar St, Lan Kwai Fong, 2522 0338. Daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10pm. Meal for two: around $150.
|Venue name:||Manchurian Candidate|
5/F, Winner's Bldg, 37 D'Aguilar St, Lan Kwai Fong