Sichuan Restaurant (Acton Town Tube)
I just had an excellent meal at Sichuan Restaurant in Acton. It was a bit of a trek from where I live (and it's not exactly next to the tube) but it was beyond worth it. I'll be back for sure.
Upon entering they were very friendly and quickly gave us water (and prawn crackers BUT I think you can get peanuts if you ask for them instead. I hate prawn crackers so I would've much preferred them, but they seemed to only give them to Chinese customers and the one table that requested them instead.) We ended up ordering the double cooked pork, the chilli fried pork trotters, and the chilli fried lamb. The lamb came first and the other two followed in rapid succession. We shared one portion of rice between the two of us for the whole meal so as to treat it more like a banquet than anything else; it would've been very hard to finish everything if we got more rice. We didn't even finish the single portion of it, actually.
The staff were really friendly and incredible (for the UK) at refilling water (and eventually tea.) Also, they were eager to chat and very interested in our choice of food and our desire for authentic spicing (it was.)
The lamb came covered literally in a pile of dried chillies and the lamb beneath them was awesome. It bordered on melt in your mouth and was delicious. Also, it was loaded with Sichuan peppercorns, but they were a bit old as there was very little if any numbing throughout the meal (despite a huge number of them.)
The hui guo rou was quite good as well, but it's was cut a bit thick for my taste (some pieces were and some weren't.) Also, the leaks with it seemed a bit old or far up the stem as they weren't cooked perfectly. Everything else about it was really good though. I was very happy to see fermented black beans in a dish in the UK as well (Snazz Sichuan didn't seem to use any.)
Our last dish (and maybe the best) were the pigs feet. They came with a similar presentation to the lamb, but the plate was loaded with wonderfully gelatinous pigs trotters. Their flavor and texture were both lovely, but I'd admit that the texture probably isn't for everyone. All in all though, great dish. Really pleased with it and it was cheaper than the others. The staff was great to bring out finger dipping bowls to clean our hands with after gnawing every last morsel off the bones without us saying a word about it.
I need to get back here and try an aubergine dish that I saw as well as at least three others that I circled. All in all a great experience and WORLDS better than Snazz Sichuan in both food and service (no ma po do fu that tastes like it has ketchup in it and no waiter who was refusing us tap water and doggedly insisting on us buying alcohol.)
Make sure you ask for ma la or even extra ma la. The waitress will seem skeptical if you're white, but just reiterate.
I heard that a place in central poached there head chef and it has downhilled since. Know anything about that? The name of the place is literally Sichuan Restaurant in English. The sign has a different name in Chinese but I can't read it. I just know it doesn't say Sichuan Restaurant.
Can Justin or anyone else please confirm that the restaurant in question is:
116 Churchfield Road, Acton, London
London W3 6BY
Tel: (020) 8992 9473
Have you been back recently Justin? Or anyone?
They also do "Peking Style" cuisine apparently!1 Has anyone tried their non-Sichuan fare and what's it like?
I so hope I have the right restaurant because they deliver too which is great!
Have you been to and do you concur with Justin about the Sichuan food there? Have you tried their "Peking Style" food as well?
Is this one of those restaurants that have a secret/special menu meant for native Chinese people? Is their full Sichuan menu the one I posted a link to?
We went for an early dinner, only one other table occupied. The very friendly waitress responded well to our interest in genuinely spicy fare, and suggested the Guan gong beef and Sichuan style prawns. We also had our eye on the sweet and sour eggplant and the steamed dumplings, so went a bit mad and ordered everything, with a single bowl of rice to share. They have a book menu, and a single-sheet 'Sichuan style' menu- the chinese menu on the table looks like a copy of this. There are interesting dishes spread across both so don't just stick to the sheet.
The food was absolutely delicious and served fast and piping hot, always a plus. The super-tender beef came loaded with chili and sichuan peppercorns and had that delightful hot/numb flavour. The prawns were big and juicy and dusted in a peppery coating. The steamed meat/veg dumplings were large and quite firm and being a relative novice, I much preferred them to the softer, more transparent variety. The eggplant was huge, meaty and covered in a tangy sauce and surrounded by pork mince. We took a chunk of this home. Really a massive portion.
We ordered a wine and a beer and with service the total came to about 45. Considering the amount of food we got this was very reasonable. As we were leaving another party came in, one of whom was loudly demanding thanks for finding this gem. The staff were lovely, the food excellent and I really hope they get all the business they deserve. I urge people more familiar with sichuan fare to head down there to get some more reviews rolling in.
It's a short walk left from Acton Central station, which is on the oyster-friendly Overground. A few stops from Richmond underground station if you have to come that way. They also deliver if you're lucky enough to live nearby.
Big thanks to Justin for the pointer!