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May 28, 2007 12:22 PM

snazz sichuan, chalton st (london)

the independent reviewed it favourably this weekend, and so we went to try it out.

great-to-good. we ordered a large amount of dishes, so we could get a sense of the place. sadly, other than tongue there weren't any duck dishes - i wanted to cross check with wu liang ye in nyc.

highlight for me: stir fried mustard greens with garlic. but the rest of the family raved on about the white braised pork, the pork intestines etc. i guess i am a vegetarian at heart.

its certainly a worthwhile complement to bar shu.

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  1. Thanks for this recommendation; I noted it down when you posted it, and a few friends and I tried it out earlier this week. I'd not tried specifically Sichuan food before, but I liked it a lot. I am a new convert to the joy of Sichuan peppercorns — all the fun of hot chilli but without the pain!

    I wrote about it at greater length here — — but the basic gist is that we paid £80 (including the auto-added 10% service charge) for five dishes, a bottle of Rioja, and plain rice for four, and that was just exactly the right amount of food. (The wine turned out to be a good choice to go with the strong flavours of the food.) My favourite dish was the fish-fragrant aubergine; I love this dish and use it as my benchmark for any previously-untried Chinese restaurant. This place passed the test with flying colours. The ma po tofu was also great. (We wanted to try the preserved egg dish, but it was off the menu.


    As for the atmosphere, we had taken note of the reviews which state that one should feel free to talk and laugh loudly and yell at the waiters; when we arrived at 8pm, this wasn't much in evidence (probably due to its being a Tuesday and so fairly empty) but we did our bit for the talking and laughing, and by the time we left, more people had arrived and the place was quite lively.

    Will definitely visit here again, and will take my chilli-fanatic boyfriends as well next time!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kake

      "Will definitely visit here again, and will take my chilli-fanatic boyfriends as well next time!"

      geez, are all your boyfriends chilli-fanatics? (grin)

      anyway, we've been back a lot and dug it more each time. sooooo much more variety than bar shu, no? and the friendliness is such a give away that theres a lot of care being taken ...

      i'm really surprised that snazz isn't garnering the type of hype reserved for the hakkasans of london - i suppose the off-beat location and lack of city-types is whats resposnible.

      1. re: howler

        "geez, are all your boyfriends chilli-fanatics? (grin)"

        They're both crazy about the stuff. One of them keeps a (large) bottle of Tabasco on his desk, just in case. You don't want to know how many different kinds of chilli sauce we have in the kitchen.

        I've not tried Bar Shu yet, though it's on my list. The location of Snazz Sichuan was actually quite handy for us, since one of our party lives outside London and comes in via King's Cross!

    2. limster, greedygirl, and I visited Snazz Sichuan again yesterday for lunch. It was entirely empty when we arrived at 12:30pm, and remained almost entirely empty during our visit. This is a shame, as the food is still good. We liked the "strange flavoured" rabbit, and the fish-fragrant aubergine was just as good as on my last visit nearly a year ago. Drifting-fragrant prawns with cumin went down well with the other two, but although the flavour was excellent they were overcooked to my taste. limster mentioned that it could all have done with being a touch hotter (chilli not temperature); I was OK with it the way it was but would not have complained if it were hotter. Dry-fried green beans were blistered on the outside and tender yet crunchy on the inside, which is exactly as I'd hoped they would be.

      The hot and sour soup was disappointing; the only note that really came through was the sourness. They were also very cagey about giving us a choice of tea, and they flatly refused to give us tap water. The rice was perhaps a tad overcooked but otherwise fine.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Kake

        Nothing much to add to Kake's review, other than I really liked the prawns (although they were a bit overcooked) and aubergine and was not impressed by either the soup or the service! Although the restaurant was empty when we arrived, we had to work hard to attract the attention of the waiter so we could order. He was also less than helpful when I inquired about where one could buy Sichuan chillies in London (although I did find them later that afternoon in one shop in Chinatown). I also noticed that the restaurant did not use the authentic "facing heaven" chillies themselves.

        My obession with Sichuan chillies continues... judging by the food at Snazz Sichuan by Dunlop-inspired attempts aren't half bad.

        1. re: greedygirl

          So which shop did you find the chillies in?

          1. re: Kake

            The one on Gerrard Street which is opposite the really big one (can't remember the name I'm afraid).

            1. re: greedygirl

              I think the big one is Loon Fung. Thanks! I'll have a look.

        2. re: Kake

          Not much more to add; I just wished everything was more spicy.

          1. re: limster

            I insist on authentic spicing when I go.