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Jul 6, 2009 12:11 PM

name of that spicy Chinatown restaurant that got all the raves a few years back? [London]

We left London in 2001 and a few years later (2004-06 or so), there was some very spicy Chinatown restaurant that everyone started raving about. For example, it had amazing reviews in the dining section of the Guardian Sunday supplement, if I am remembering correctly. What is the name and is it still around?

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  1. Bar Shu and, no, shut for refurbishment as there was a fire. However you can visit its sister restaurant, Ba Shan, just opposite, which does Szechuan 'tapas', jolly good, or the 'diffusion version', Baozi Inn on Newport Place which does lots of noodles and dumplings and buns and is marvellous too, and MUCH cheaper. Search for them here or Google as loads of reviews.

    Otherwise, if you want the full blown Szechuan meal, do a search on here for Chilli Cool (Holborn) or Gourmet San (Bethnal Green).

    2 Replies
    1. re: helen b

      Bar Shu is reopening in early August. Woohoo!

      1. re: helen b

        Gourmet San has a good number of Sichuan dishes, but they're actually a NE Chinese restaurant and specialise in food from NE china (Beijing, Shandong and further etc.).

      2. If you're wiling to go West, I strongly recommend No. 10 Chinese Restaurant over Bar Shu et al. You'll need to order from the Sichuan menu (it's in Chinese on the whiteboard, but the waitstaff will help translate); also insist on extra ma la (numbing spicy, the key characteristic of most Sichan dishes).

        3 Replies
        1. re: limster

          went to ba shan last week and was bitterly disappointed in comparison to my last trip to chinatown at leongs legends.

          as soon as we sat down we were bombarded with an assault of upselling. first told by the waitress that she had lots of lovely mango/lychee/fruit drinks and then told that what we had ordered was not very much and would we like to also order this dish, or that dish. frankly, it just made the whole experience a little too commercial, like a gordon ramsey restaurant.

          on to the actual meat of the subject, and i'm said to say the food was good, but not incredible. pork pot sticker dumplings were tasty and had the slight crisp to one edge. however three of them had split underneath. another dish of very small pork dumplings in garlic, chilli, and soy sauce had a lovely flavour that contrasted well with the salty kick of the sauce. the beijing noodles mixed at the table were nice enough, but nothing that cant be beaten by the fresh noodles at jen cafe for less than a fiver.

          we might have eaten another dish but is escapes my memory. i think we did as the bill came to 38 quid with the automatic 12.5% service charge.

          maybe i just got put off by the upselling, but in my view its just not worth going to ba shan. when bar shu reopens im going to go there, but id much rather go back to leongs legends with its brilliant soup dumplings and three cup chicken. or eat some beijing dumplings at jen cafe followed by a pork bun from one of the supermarkets. far cheaper and just as good food wise.

          1. re: alexdz

            This is kind of what I thought too. I'm not one of Ba Shan's many fans I'm afraid.

            1. re: alexdz

              Do try the northern Chinese (shui3 jiao3) dumplings at Superstar -- from my limited experience, I think they're better than Jen Cafe's, but it wouldn't hurt to have more info/opinions one way or another.

          2. It's Bar Shu and it's taking bookings now for reservations from the 30th August.