My love affair with China Town is continuing with a recent visit to the Empress of Sichuan. This was a recommendation of my now Guru in all things about Chinese food. Mr Noodles.
Trying to compare the Empress with the other Chinese restaurants I have been to is a tad difficult, it’s a bit more upmarket in a modern but still quite old fashioned way. They have white tablecloths, a large selection of wines, nice subtle lighting. A lot different from the bare wooden tables and Chinese styling I am used to in other places.
As with the name, the food is as far as I can gather is from Sichuan, but I am no expert so I cannot affirm that entirely. But there were enough dishes that I know come form Sichuan to make me believe that.
I was kinda hungry so I ordered one or two dishes more than I would normally. But I wish I had ordered more. First off were the pig’s ears in chilli oil. This was really quite a good dish, nice thin slices of pigs ears, the chilli oil was piquant and mouth numbing. Only downside was that it was still a little fridge cold. A tad more time out of the fridge and it would have been perfect, as it was by the time we got to the last few morsels.
The hot and sour soup was a nice way to moisten my taste buds before the main event. It wasn’t particularly hot nor sour as I had hoped for, but it was well seasoned and was thick. Or maybe my taste buds were still shot to shit after the pigs ears. A possibility. But it was a damn fine soup none the less.
The Gung Pao chicken was really good, lots of chillis, although I am used to this being served on a bed of spinach. It did come on a green plate to make up for it I suppose. Maybe they ran out or maybe this is how it is served in Sichuan. I’ve had it there, but memory failing at my age means I cannot remember how it was.
We also ordered a pork knuckle, which was wonderfully shredded at the table by our waitress. Who was looking more and more bewildered as to why we were taking pictures of her. But with this instant fame she kept her nerve and did a good job.
The dish doesn’t look all that good, but boy did it taste good. There is something about fatty pieces of pork served to me with the fat as well. I was hook line and sinker.
I’d say this was one of the best meals I’ve had in China Town, well if you include Ba Shan and Bar Shu as being in China Town. If not then it’s the best.