Anyone heard of a Sichuan-ish place called Chuan Mei Zi in North Greenwich? [London]
Interested to know if anyone has heard of this place, as it appears to have no web presence. My boyfriend's workmate went there, and said they served SIchuan food, and that it was good. It's apparently in the Millenium Leisure Park, next to the Odeon.
If anyone knows anything, it would be good to find out more!
I finally made it out here for a proper meal the other night. We ordered relatively safe Sichuanese standards and three dishes with tea and rice came to about 28 quid.
The ma po do fu was one of the best versions I've had in London, but I've eaten at Chilli Cool twice lately and would honestly rate the dish there more highly. The portion and spice level were good. Similar to reviews of the dan dan mian below, the ground pork could have been much crispier and more strongly flavored. Though there was an abundant sprinkling of Sichuan peppercorn on top of the dish, there was virtually no numbing effect even for my companion who had never had Sichuanese food.
The double cooked pork was probably the best version I've had in London though. The amount of pork was quite generous, the fat melted nicely with a quick chew, etc. Very well made. My only real complaint is that they could have sliced the pork more thinly, but this didn't matter much.
Our third dish was the dan dan mian. Despite somewhat negative reviews below, I think the flavor of this dish and it's overall authenticity (insomuch as one can even measure that) was impressive. The noodles were perfectly cooked, the flavors were perfectly balanced (strong spice, vinegar-y background, a hint of sesame oil, etc), but again the ground pork was only OK. They need to fry the ground pork in all of their dishes a bit crispier. Good dan dan mian (or ma po do fu) should have extremely crispy ground meat which has its own spicy flavor. The mince in both of these dishes just seemed like it was tossed into a wok and broken up during brief cooking.
I'd definitely try it again though. This place is seriously epic trek without a car, but it's arguably as good as Chilli Cool if not better. I don't think it really compares to Number 10's better dishes on a good day.
Wild horses wouldn't persuade me to go to the Odeon in North Greenwich (esp.with the Picture House in Greenwich itself as competition).
However, having been to Chuan Mei Zi for the first time a couple of nights ago, those same wild horses couldn't stop me going back to this restaurant right next door.
Alas, curse of the single diner (which is a double curse when the food is chinese and particularly difficult to get the most out of for just one) meant I could only sample two or three dishes - mopa tofu, guang bo chicken and ...er...forgotten which beef dish! But I loved it. Real succulence in the chicken, with that blistering on the chilles where they have been kissed by the wok. The amazing fragrance of the the sichuan pepper drifting off the tofu. Lipsmacking beef. All knockout stuff.
There's a temptation to award extra marks for having the chutzpah to serve something this good in this location. Not only is Simon's description of the area looking like New Jersey spot on, but the room itself resembles one of those ubiquitous semi-empty American mall-restaurants, where no amount of effort can fill the void of a souless flat-pack architectural box. But by the service was really good and by any standards the food was up there - certainly, on this one visit, snapping at the heels of Bar Shu and Bar Shan and a considerable distance ahead of Le Wei Xiang in Lewisham.
Given that it's over the road from some none-too-shabby dim sum (at the Holiday Inn Express by the Blackwall Tunnel. Seriously), that Deptford is showing some great Vietmanese places (as well as Kaya House for Malaysian) and that we recently enjoyed the Meat Easy popup in New Cross, to add to the Old Brewery in Greenwich, and the very well run Bella Pasta in Blackheath it finally feels like this long-benighted corner of SE London is starting to land a few blows of its own in the search for decent food.
And the best thing about Chuan Mei Zi, is that you can enjoying seeing the general public streaming out of Pizza Hut next door to waste another £20 watching X-Men: Second Rate, or whatever its called. I mean, you could get a whole bloody roast duck for that.
Delighted that you enjoyed it...i also went as a single diner, and i actually walked there from a great distance away and had considered turning back many times when the area kept looking more and more soulless, but was so happy once i was there eating...
i am back in NYC now, and while we have many quite good Sichuan options in Manhattan, none serve food as complex and intense as my one meal at Chuan Mei Zi...
We went last night. The outside menu has the sichuanese dishes in Chinese script and pinyin, which makes it a bit hard for non-Chinese. However once you go inside, the new menu has all the dishes fully translated to English.
In the end, we ordered three starters and one main. First out was tripe and chicken strips in coriander. This was agreed to be the highlight of our dinner. Nice and fresh-tasting and well balanced. Next out was pork belly in garlic, which was ok, but not quite garlicy enough for our taste.
Third was dan-dan noodles, which were a bit bland and the meat wasn't as crisp as hoped. Probably our least favourite.
Last was a boiled half fish, Sichuan style, with lots of dried chilli and sichuan peppercorns. I've forgotten the name on the menu. We requested them not to hold back on the ma-la. Thoughts around the table were that it was reasonably tasty, though the knife work let it down a bit. The fish was in large chunks rather than being delicately cut. Also the amount was not huge for £17 - although it looked impressive when brought out, the fish was resting on a bed of beansprouts bulking it up.
Overall a reasonable meal, came out with 2 teas to about £40.
i went there today...it's excellent...i was solo, so only two dishes, but it's clear the chef really knows how to cook!...
i had a Sichuan prawn dish...three different kinds of chilies in it: dried red, fresh green, fresh red, plus lots of garlic, chili oil, and while i didn't see any peppercorns, it had a "ma" undertone, maybe they were crushed into it?...simply awesome and authentic, w/ complex heat...
Also got the cold cucumber starter...they only served one size and the portion was literally enough for about six people...also excellent: not vinegary at all, just some light sesame oil and garlic, w/ tons of fresh cilantro in it...
Kind of hard to get to (tube to N.Greenwich and a long walk or a bus)...the room itself is pleasant...but outside, next to freeways, it looks like New Jersey...i want to go back there w/ a group and try more dishes...
p.s. a note on the menu: the Sichuan part of the menu (the only part i really looked at) has the oddity of being in both Chinese characters and in pinyin, yet not in English...(i.e. English might have been more useful than pinyin?)...
and the cucumber dish was off the menu...the waiter kindly translated all the starters for me, all of which seemed to be beef, chicken, or egg...when i asked him if they had any veggie starters, he said "We ran out!"...but when i asked him about the cucumber dish (not mentioned), he said "Oh, yeah, we can make that!"...so it would prob help to go there w/ a Mandarin speaker (though i did just fine w/ my tiny bit of restaurant Mandarin and lots of slow questions :)
This might be a very fun place to trek to for a Chowhound Sichuan group dinner at some point...