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Jun 13, 2008 03:13 PM

Serious Sichuan Food @ No. 10 Chinese Restaurant, Earl's Court, London

Dan4 dan4 mian4 aka dan dan noodles are a touch on the soft side, but the chilli fragrance is excellent, with just the right sour shade of vinegar. The bits of minced pork are edged with crispy points, from serious wokking. Very oily as it should be. Very well calibrated and aromatic flavours.

Twice cooked pork aka hui2 guo1 ruo4 is one of those Sichuan classics that don't involve sichuan peppercorns. This rendition is a very good example -- the right cut of pork -- fatty and steaky, cooked to a firm texture vaguely reminiscent of certain waxed meats, accompanied by leeks. A sauce with black bean paste, garlic and chilli oil. The flavours could be even more smoky, but that's a quibble.

The chef is from Sichuan and these 2 dishes suggest that this place is worth some serious exploration. There's are reasonable chance that it could turn out to be really good.

BTW, the Guizhou Mao Tai might be interesting to hard liquor drinkers.

The Sichuan items are largely written only in Chinese on the white board near the door. Non Chinese readers will need to interrogate the waitstaff. Other classic Sichuan dishes there that I remembered include cold noodles (liang2 mian4), water cooked beef/fish (shui2 zhu3 niu2/yu2 rou4), fish in bean sauce (dou4 ban4 yu2), fatty pork in a garlic vinaigrette (suan4 ni2 bai2 rou4), tofu with minced pork in a chilli/bean sauce (ma2 po2 dou4 fu4). A chrysanthemum fish (ju2 hua1 yu2) caught my eye will have to ask about it next time. A few other Sichuan dishes seem to be scattered in the largely Cantonese menu (e.g. sea spicy shredded pork/yu2 xiang1 rou3 si1, Kung Po Chilli Chicken/gong1 bao3 ji1. They also have Sichuan style hot pot and some banquet looking menus at £30 or £40.

Located at 10 Hogarth Place, London SW5 0QT 020 7373 7000.

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  1. phenomenal find - how do you do it?! i've been here eight years and i missed treasure in my own backyard - i am going tomorrow to check it out (pls join me if you are free).

    5 Replies
    1. re: howler

      I went to Lutong Pinoy on Barry's suggestion and just walked around the area. Just serendipity; I quite liked Mai, the kushiage place across from Lutong Pinoy but I think this place may have more potential.

      1. re: limster

        no 10 is easily the best sichuan restaurant i've been to in london. and independently of the style, theres some seriously soulful cooking going on here. that makes no 10 one of my favourite destinations already.

        i moved here in the summer of 2000 and i remember tramping around earls court station area trying out a few restaurants. nothing. but there seems to be a regeneration going on; the chef at no 10 originally worked at the awful take away a few doors down.

        1. re: howler

          What did you have? Would love to hear!

          1. re: limster

            dan dan noodles, boiled beef, kun pao chicken, twice cooked pork, beef with preserved vegetables, cabbage with garlic, prawns.

            ALL haimish.

            1. re: howler

              Cool -- thanks! Looking forward to trying more stuff there.

    2. Oh - great recommendation! I can't wait to try it :-)

      1. Another meal there. I think a major source of their strength is that oily fragrance of chilli bits and probably shallots and garlic, caramelized at high heat.

        The best dish this time was the cumin beef (zi3 ran2 niu2 rou4). Very nuanced cumin spicing, just a breath of the earthy flavour, and a faint shade of chilli, and a vein of cooling celery. I want my dishes to be more spicy, but even (or maybe because) at this low spice level, there is a delicious balance.

        The sichuan cold noodles (chuan1 wei4 liang2 mian) could be a bit more intense with sichuan peppercorn for a more herbal quality to the flavour, but is otherwise well made. Pretty good noodles, tossed in a peanut sauce with sesame, shredded chicken and julienned cucumber.

        Basic garlic stir-fry of water convolvulus (kong1 xin1 cai4).

        The oily fragrance again from the "salivating" chicken (kou3 sui3 ji1) - warm blanket of aromatic chilli oil and crushed roasted peanuts, balanced with vinegar, on chilled (roasted/poached?) chicken.

        Next time I'm there, will be asking for extra spicy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: limster

          what a treasure of a find. we went there again tonight and our waitress remembered everything we'd ordered last time, so we asked her to bring different stuff.

          everything was great. this in spite of our only repeat dish - the boiled beef - totally lacking any sichuan peppercorns. so what? there's real soul here.

        2. Finally got to check this place out on Friday night. Despite being a fairly accessible and 'nice' restaurant, the place has very low presence on the web and was surprisingly quiet on a Friday night.

          Ordered the Cumin Beef, Twice cooked pork, water convolouvous in garlic sauce) all of which was fantastic. As Limster said, the meat dishes could have been a touch more spicy, but was really refreshing change from standard cantonese fayre.

          The only disappointment was the rather ordinary salt and pepper squid , which was on the standard menu. The squid was lovely and tender but the batter was kind of chalky and not quite right. Strange how restaurants who obviously have the cooking expertise can still not get dishes like this right.

          Overall though, a great meal, and coming in at £30 for two, pretty good value.

          Thanks for the tip.

          1. Amazingly I had never heard of this place until I just read this post (I even missed it the first time it came around). It's really close to me too so I'm thinking of visiting within the next week. A couple of questions:

            How easy would it be to order from the Sichuan menu if I go by myself? I speak no Chinese and I'm not even sure I know how to pronounce the items given in this thread...

   I found this thing. Are items from the "gourmet dishes" section the way to go? I recognise the cumin beef from this thread on there.

            Sorry for being dim, I'm new to this cuisine really.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

              The staff there are nice and speak good enough english. Just ask them about the items on the whiteboard, and i'm sure they'll help you choose something good..

              1. re: foreignmuck

                agree with everything posted thus far.

                staff are very friendly.

                did the chilli-lovers set last time. that's a lot of food!

                really need to investigate the whiteboard.

                1. re: kidtofu

                  had another stab at the whiteboard recently, going for a white fish dish simmered with tofu, vegetables, and chilli bean paste i think, and laden with Szechuan pepper. Also went for a special crab dish, again loaded with the Ma La.. Although both dishes were extremely robust and authentic, although i did find i was struggling with Szechuan pepper and spice overdose after a while. The Bok Choi side order provided good respite... In hindsight, it would have been great to order one of these dishes in amongst other less spicy items.

                  1. re: foreignmuck

                    Glad to hear that they're making stuff spicy. I often get the dry fried julienned potato as a palate cleanser at Sichuan places. I think they might have it there as as well.