1. Barshu
  2. Barshu
  3. Barshu
  4. Barshu
  • Restaurants | Chinese
  • price 2 of 4
  • Soho
  • Recommended



4 out of 5 stars

Central London’s prime exponent of the alluringly fiery and mouth-numbing cuisine of China's Sichuan province.

Barshu serves authentic Sichuan cuisine in the heart of Soho.
Joe Mackertich

Time Out says

London loves Sichuanese food. The central Chinese cooking style, famous for its copious use of dried chillies, show-stopping red broths, pungent garlic and mouth-numbing peppercorns appeals to us because it feels so incongruous. It’s very un-British, death-or-glory stuff, the culinary equivalent of joining a gabba collective or getting a face tattoo. 

Barshu, opened in 2006, was one of the first well-known spots to offer this singular cuisine to Londoners. Recently, the two-story Soho venue has enjoyed an invigorating glow up, zhuzhed its menu with a few new dishes and adopted a badass company motto (‘We never stop’). But it’s very much business as usual. And business at Barshu is good.

You’ll leave Barshu extremely happy, well fed and comfortably numb in the mouth area. Like an angel has kicked you in the teeth

Don’t be a wally: stick to tried-and-tested Sichuan specialities and you’ll leave Barshu extremely happy, well fed and comfortably numb in the mouth area. Like an angel has kicked you in the teeth. The sea bass, placed amid a psychedelic, splattery crime scene of furious liquid, was a sensory detonation. The ‘legendary’ (their words, and quite the flex) dan dan noodles were cooked expertly and presented with a deliriously well-judged sauce-to-pork ratio. I arrogantly consider myself a dan dan authority and can say, oily hand on heart, these are some of the best I’ve had in London. Shredded at our table by a winningly deadpan waiter, the braised pork shank was another star, a huge plate of butter-soft meat, slathered in unctuous, dark gravy. 

The more generic dishes, the kind you expect at your bog-standard Chinese restaurant, were less interesting. Their presence on the menu, presumably a placating gesture, felt half-hearted. Gong bao chicken looked visibly underpowered and lonely compared to the swaggering, blockbuster pizzaz of ‘assorted meats in fiery sauce’. But why book Big Daddy when you could have Hulk Hogan? Sichuanese tapas – featuring dishes like smacked cucumber, Sichuan chicken and shredded tripe in spicy oil – all hit the mark too, and would make a fine lunch for two if the mains prove too daunting. 

This is quality dining, with a relaxed, walk-in vibe. The heat, the noise, the Jasmine tea. Come and bask in its boiling, crimson power.

The vibe Bright and bold cuisine, now with decor to match.

The food A big menu that leans heavily into Sichuan flavour. Vegetable sides are pricey, but you are going to need a couple.

The drink Standard Chinese restaurant fare. Some wine. Some lager. Some intimidating white spirits.

Time Out tip The menu will let you know what dishes are ‘ma la’ (numbing spicy), but do feel free to ask for extra heat if you think you can take it.

Barshu says
The food of Sichuan province in south-west China is one of the world's great cuisines. Its most famous characteristic is its fiery spiciness, which comes from the liberal use of chillies and lip-tingling Sichuan pepper. But hot and spicy is only part of the story.

Sichuanese chefs are legendary for their ability to combine many different tastes into exquisite, complex flavours. Some of these are robustly spicy, while others are delicate and teasing. And the use of chillies is so inventive that their taste never pales.

At Barshu we want to bring you the best of the authentic flavours of Sichuan. We hope you enjoy your food.


28 Frith St
Tube: Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road tube
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