Sunday, June 26, 2011

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant - Chinatown, Sydney

Cheesecake Boy and I love Sichuan food.  We usually frequent the Chatswood restaurant of Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant, but we're lucky they have five restaurants and after work we duck into the Chinatown restaurant behind Harbour Plaza to ease our chilli cravings.  

The first time Cheesecake Boy and I visited the Chatswood branch, we ordered the fried diced chicken with dried chilli, that was only indicated as having a heat level of two chillis.  We didn't think it would be too hot, but we were so wrong.  It was so hot that we couldn't eat the dish, and no amount of beers and water eased our pain that day.  Apparently, it is one of the hottest dishes on the menu, so you have been warned.   We have learnt our lesson, and now get an indication of the heat of dishes from the staff before we order.

We both ordered a Heqizheng herbal tea each.  Just preparing ourselves, should we need something to combat a chilli overdose.  The herbal tea was packed with sugar, but provided a nice refreshing coolness going down.

Heqizheng herbal tea, $3.50

Sichuan bean jelly dressed with sour and spicy sauce  served cold is definitely a favourite dish of mine.  Sometimes, this dish comes up in my daydreams.  I am addicted to the spicy sourness of the sauce against the cool and savoury jelly-like noodles.  The peanuts added that much needed texture.  This dish is a great starter, as it simultaneously refreshes the palate and gets you salivating all at the same time.  Don't let the chilli oil discourage you, as the heat level was only one chilli.  It was definitely more sour than it was spicy.

Sichuan bean jelly dressed with sour and spicy sauce, $8.80

We have never ordered the boiled dumplings with sweet and spicy sauce before, but Cheesecake Boy felt like some dumplings and I wasn't going to object to that.  Cheesecake Boy was so keen to dig in that he forgot to let me take the photo, so we had to place the sauce dipped dumpling back.  I decided for the sake of taking a photo it would look better if I poured all the sauce on top, much to Cheesecake Boy's dismay.  He was worried it was going to be too spicy.  However, the sauce actually had a lovely sweetness to it, which I am sure came from the addition of sweet sesame paste in the chilli oil. 

Cheesecake Boy found the dumplings to be too plain.  However, I really adored the plain subtle taste of these dumplings, as it really accentuated the perfectly cooked silkiness of the dumpling skin and the sweetness of the pork filling. 
Boiled dumplings with sweet and spicy sauce, $7.80

Cheesecake Boy and I were surprised when we were served dan dan noodles.  Initially, we had accidentally ordered the dan dan noodles instead of the Sichuan bean jelly noodles.  However, as English was not the waitress' first language, I guess she thought we wanted both of them.  Usually, I would send it back, but it wasn't her fault that we confused her either.  This was one of the better  bowls of dan dan noodles that I have tried.  The actual noodles tasted exactly like spaghetti, and they were so beautifully cooked.  I just wished that the sauce-like soup was spicier, as I found it disappointingly mild.

Spicy dan dan noodle with pork mince in Sichuan cooking style, $6.80

Usually our main dish would be either Cheesecake Boy's favourite fish fillets with chilli or be my favourite eggplant with king prawns, but Cheesecake Boy wanted to try something different.  This is how we ended up with stir fried pork shreds with hot garlic sauce.  The sauce in our dish was the same one as my favourite eggplant with king prawns, so I was satisfied.  The sweet and slightly spicy sauce had a luscious thick quality that was perfect with rice.  The sauce really complemented the pork shreds and the slight crunch of the black fungus was a nice textural touch.

Stir fried pork shreds with hot garlic sauce, $16.80

We were seriously stuffed.  The dan dan noodles that we unintentionally ordered really put us over the edge, and I would have happily rolled out the door.  When the bill came, we got a plate of complimentary fruit.  The watermelon pieces were too soft, but the sweet orange slices were the perfect way to end the meal.

Complimentary fruit

I think Cheescake Boy and I may have to up the ante up a bit more and order some spicer dishes next time, as we are beginning to find these dishes sweet rather than spicy.  If you're thinking that this is the place to develop your chilli tolerance, it may not be such a good idea.  However, if you love a good chilli hit and you're looking for something different, then Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant may be something to consider.

Dining away, Dumpling Girl.

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant
Harbour Plaza
Shop 108
25-29 Dixon Street
Haymarket NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9211 8130
Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I love Sichuan food-I think I'm addicted to the spice. This restaurant has been on the "to eat" list but now I think after your review it has jumped to the top! :D

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

Glad to know there are some milder dishes here, as I'm not a big spicy eater.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

I am a chilli fiend and I don't mind Sichuan once in a while.

What I dislike is when restaurants OD on Sichuan peppers on certain dishes that overpower the entire dish and some dishes can be rather oily because of their style of cooking.

The prices are very reasonable though.

gastronomous anonymous said...

oh i really like this place! i could really do with a bowl of those boiled dumplings with sweet and spicy sauce :)

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Oooh, looks good but the spice factor is a little scary... So, are there two Sichuan places on Glebe Point Rd...?

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Lorraine, that's so nice of you. Completely understand the addiction, once you're hook it's hard to stop the cravings from flooding in.

Hello joey, there is definitely something there for any chilli threshold. The menu just looks intimidating as it's a sea of red chilli oil :)

Hey chopinand, yeah the diced chicken dish was definitely an OTT OD for us, but some people surprisingly can definitely eat up to that extreme heat range.

Hi gastronomous anonymous, yup I feel the cravings kicking in again, lol.

Hello Tina, there are some really reasonable not so spicy dishes here. This coming from a girl who developed her threshold from eating Kettles chilli chips :)

They have one on Glebe point road, one in Burwood near the Westfield, one in Chatswood opposite Chatswood Chase, and two in Chinatown. The one we went to is behind Eating World where the TAB use to be and the other is upstairs on Dixon St opposite the Entertainment Centre. Have not been to the one on Dixon St or the one on Glebe Point Road though.

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

I love those strands of bean jelly. It's such a bizarre sensation of cool and spicy all at once!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Helen, it's a very addictive sensation for sure :)

sugarpuffi said...

i loveeeeeee bean jelly! i have to get it every time. get the fish in chili oil next time! its awesome :D

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello sugarpuffi, we love the fish in chilli oil too, but it's a huge dish for just the two of us. I get the bean jelly every time too :)

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Haha, Sichuan food can be so hard to guage in terms of spiciness. Once went to a 'mala' hotpot place where you got to choose the level of spiciness and "numbness" - little did we know that numbess is much more potent than spiciness! Nothing like a dinner where you can't feel your lips =p

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello mademoiselle délicieuse, I feel your pain. I guess we all had to learn the hard way :)