Chilli Cool - Bloomsbury - Report [London]
I forgot to report on my meal at Chilli Cool last week, so here it is.
I had actually eaten there by myself once before, and ordered the dan dan mein for lunch. It was a pretty good rendition, with plenty of sichuan peppercorn, although I thought it had a bit too much broth. But I'd get it again.
I went back for dinner with two others last week, and we had a good meal. We ordered the medium size fish hot pot, which has all the dried chilies floating on top - I forget what this dish is called. It wasn't the best version I'd ever had - but I thought it was still quite nice - though maybe a tad too salty. The fish was flavorful and plentiful, and there were also lots of pieces of tofu. Huge serving (although granted it cost £15). Would definitely go back and order this again on a cold night.
We also had the ma-po tofu, which I thought was excellent. Their version included black beans, which I liked, and again plenty of sichuan peppercorn. Also had dry fried green beans, which were a bit too salty and only OK - the string bean dish at Local Friends (Hunan) is similar and much nicer (though I realize it's not exactly the same dish, as the later is vegetarian and the Chilli Cool dish has meat).
We also had eggplant with yellow bean sauce and this was pretty good.
With rice and tea, bill came out to about £55 I think....although this was far too much food for 3 of us, since the fish hot pot was so big. We would have been better off with the hot pot and only two other dishes.
On a Wednesday night, the place was pretty crowded, so it's worth booking a table. Not a perfect restaurant, but really quite good, and since it's so convenient, I'll definitely be back
15 Leigh St
London, WC1H 9EW
Hi Dave - I ate there a few weeks ago with some friends and we also tried the ma-po tofu which I agree was very good but our major complaint was that none of our food had as much spice as we were expecting - after all it is a Sichuan restaurant with the word Chilli in its name! Not sure if they tone it down for Westerners or if it is just not that hot.
The shredded potato with dried chilli was stir-fried nicely -- still a little bite and snap to the juliienned potato. There's an occasional sichuan peppercorn (enough for a sporadic zing) and a some dried chilli (but not enough for a good smoky overtone). Lightened with finely cut green onion. But somewhat tired on the whole because it was soaked, albeit in a fairly savoury vinaigrette.
Beef and ox tripe in chilli sauce (aka Husband and Wife) showed deft knifework in the thinly sliced tripe (brilliantly snappy and chewy) and meaty lean beef. Good aromatics from wok scorched peanuts. Very mild as it is, should have asked for a more chilli hot rendition.
Sliced belly pork in mashed garlic sauce had barely any garlic at all. The pork was very thinly sliced (seemed like the prep for hotpot), savoury and sweet, together with equally thin slices of cucumber, in a very light chilli sauce dotted with sesame. Needs garlic, and a serious amount of it.
Seemed promising, and certainly flavourful, but extra kick and heat needed. Will have to make an appropriate request next time.