Monday, May 2, 2011

Empress of Sichuan, Chinatown

After reading some yummy experiences at Empress of Sichuan, I made a mental note to go there when the next opportunity arrives. I was also intrigued when I realised that it was also own by the same GL that seems to have a stronghold in Chinatown.
At the next opportunity, I came with a group of friends ready for some Szechuan food. Bring on the heat!
I enjoyed it so much that I came back again soon after. Here are some of what we ate.
酸辣海蜇 Marinated Jellyfish with Chicken and Cucumber in Hot & Sour Sauce £8

The jellyfish was slippery and chewy. A refreshing dish with a kick coming from the hot and sour sauce.

竹筒粉 排骨 steamed pork ribs with rice paste in bamboo tube £11.80

This I wasn't too fond of. The rice paste was quite wet and it formed a sticky paste with the pork ribs. The flavour was good but the texture wasn't for me.

Picture 123
辣子鸡 fragrant chicken with dried chilli and pepper £13

One of my favourite. Twice I've been back to Empress of Sichuan and twice I've ordered this. Chicken that has been sliced into bite sized pieces so that every surface is coated with the chillies and pepper.

It was addictively delicious. The second time we had it, the chef spiced it up 5 folds and it was almost too much that my tummy ached. Almost!

干篇苦瓜 bitter melon stir fried with green and red chilli £9.50

It was great to have this as it was bitter and cooling which helped to qualm the spiciness from the other dishes. Actually, it was the only non-spicy dish so you bet it was very popular with the group even if bitter melon might not be up their alley.

Picture 126
麻婆豆腐 Ma Po Do Fu, spicy diced tofu with minced pork £8

A decent version. The "heat" was there but the "mala"/numbing spiciness/ 麻辣 was merely a weak presence.

担担面 Dan Dan noodles Sichuan style

I like the texture of the noodles. Soft with a slight spring which was happily eaten. However, one of the members of the dining party did not.

农夫烤鱼 Farmers Baked Fish with onion, cumin and black beans £23

Another favourite at the table. The balance of salty and spicy, with touches of sweetness was amazing.  The White fish was fresh and being baked only accentuated its freshness. We couldn't get enough of it. Deliciously complex sauce that was just begging to be mopped up with rice.

Picture 125
Tea Tree Mushrooms served in a small wok £10.5
If you love mushrooms, you will adore this. Tea tree mushrooms that are sliced into slivers, the flavours of the rustic earthy mushrooms shines brilliantly.

Picture 128
南瓜饼 Deep fried pumpkin cake Sichuan style £4

The staff were really great, ever helpful and attentive. One of them even brought us a dessert for free which was the pumpkin cake. Cut into circular shapes with a thickness of half an inch, it was dense in texture yet slightly chewy or QQ. We all loved it.

懒汤圆 Sticky rice balls with sesame in sweet soup £4

I could never resist anything glutinous whenever I see it. I should have realised from the Chinese description.  Sweet soup it definitely wasn't, think plain bland slightly starchy water. I noticed during my china travels that they serve this dessert mainly in two ways, either in plain water or thick rice wine water.

紫米椰子冰淇淋 black glutinous rice with coconut ice cream £4

When it first arrived we were all wondering, Why in a martini glass? Presentation faux pas aside, it was a pleasant surprise. This was GOOD!

The glutinous black rice was sticky and gummy with the rice adding a nice contrast to the texture. It went really well with the coconut ice cream which added an extra dimension in terms of aroma...sweet dairy creamy coconut!

Picture 130
Mango Pudding £3.2

Look at the photo, enough said!

I've enjoyed both times when I was here. The staff are friendly and attentive. It's not cheap as it aims to be more upmarket but the quality of the dishes are good and served in a comfortable environment. 


Will I recommend: Yes
Will I come back: Yes
Have I had better: Yes but that will mean going to China. This is one of the good ones available in London

Empress of Sichuan, 6 Lisle Street, Chinatown, London, WC2H 7BG

Empress of Sichuan on Urbanspoon


  1. One of my favourites, and imho, the best resto in Chinatown! Next time, try the lamb skewers!

  2. Mr Noodles - Aah....will make sure I do!


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