I’ve finally made it to Chilli Cool. Finally I stepped through the door, sat down and ate. Guess what. I never wanted to leave.
I think I’ve found my new fave restaurant in the world. My other one is all the way over in Hammersmith, and shall forever remain one of my treasured places, but it’s just too far away. I need somewhere close, or at least closer to home. Although the Regent is closer, but how many times a week can I eat pizza?
Chilli Cool felt right, the staff were friendly, the menu reads like poetry, the food sent me to heaven. OK slight over exaggeration there. The food was not knock your socks off, but it was pretty damn good, and I got the wife to eat tofu, which after her attempt at eating stinky tofu in Chengdu, she vowed never to touch the stuff again. It was really stinky.
To be honest we were not that hungry, we just wanted a quick bite to eat on the way home, and I didn’t fancy yet more Turkish kebabs or pide. Anymore and I’ll start looking like one. No we wanted something light, refreshing and with a kick.
The restaurant is split between 2 shops. I’m not sure if we were in the new part or old part, but it looked like it had won last prize in an interior design competition. The décor is pretty lame, but we were not here for that. We were here for the food.
We are getting more restrained these days. We are actually able to order enough food that we want to eat, which I wish I’d learnt that trick years ago, as I’ve wasted enough food to feed the 5,000 before now.
So after much deliberation on what and how much to order. We had quite simply a plate of ma po dofu, green beans with minced pork and a bowl of rice. Yes that was it. I know not much, but as I said we were not that hungry, just something to tide us over for the night, and I’m trying to get out of eating large meals at night. I think the waitress was a tad shocked as she said, “Is that all?” but it’s my new regime, and it is kinda working. Sometimes.
The Ma Po tofu was one of the best I’ve had outside China. It beats hands down the crap I eat sometimes form the bad takeaway across from work. The tofu was swimming oh so happily in the chilli broth. It had been given a light dusting of pepper that added another taste to a firm favourite. My mouth slowly became more and more numb as the night wore on. This actually more or less lasted all the way back on the 73 to Stoke Newington. No heat pain, just numbness. Lovely sensation.
This version was the complete opposite of what I normally cook at home. Mine is a tad sweeter, as I use a sweet chilli bean paste, and mine is a lot thicker from mixing in a lot of cornstarch to thicken it up, so this was a lovely change.
This was as close as I remember it from our short jaunt through Sichuan all those years ago, except those versions were seriously hot. But ohh so good.
The minced pork and green beans were our vegetable accompaniment. The pork had been fried to a crispy loveliness, and made some good green beans all the more yummy. I think, unless I am wrong this is translated from Chinese as ants climbing trees. I do love poetic translations in food.
I’m not a big fan of noodles, so I always order rice. I like the way it soaks up the sauce and makes it a great meal in itself. I work with some guys who always order ho fun noodles with everything. I look at noodles as a part of a meal, not as a side. Maybe I need to open my mind a tad, and see how it goes. Sometimes I am a little closed minded.
Why oh why has it taken me so long to walk in through the door and try the food on offer. No idea. But I want to eat everything off the menu.
I am hooked on Chilli Cool and I have no idea why, maybe I just need somewhere to lay down my hat and call it my home