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Ba Shu (former Local Friends), Bethnal Green

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We had a period of falling in and out of love with Local Friends. There were periods when it was fantastic, then some downhill ones, it seemed to be recovering, and after a couple so-so dinners earlier this year I had pretty much given up. And so we found ourselves the other evening wanting a good Chinese dinners and agreeing, "let's not give Local Friends another chance." Sorry about this, we had thought of them as friends before.

So it was a bit surprising to walk by and find a new name and new sign (but the same decor) in the place. And a new menu, this one very strongly on the Szechuan side. The temptation could not be resisted, and in we went.

It was just the two of us, so we did not try much. A salad of tofu strips with coriander, and a seabass grilled with a nice chili-heavy chili sauce. But it was good. It was better than good. It was good-as-you-recall-places-that-used-to-be-better good. We resolved to go again in the future with a larger group and mine more of the menu.

The owners are the same but the chef is new. And our praise is high. And order is restored to the world.

132 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6DG.

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  1. good to know! going to try and get along there. fyi it looks like the full name is ba shu fang - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ba-Shu...

    1 Reply
    1. re: t_g

      Thanks for the correction -- looks like they also have a photo of our salad! https://www.facebook.com/149874824035...

    2. Was there a local friends in Bethnal green?! The one in golders green was the scene of a memorable chowdown once.

      1. Interesting. Any relation to the original Ba Shu in terms of chef?

        This place has re-branded a lot. Used to be Red Bar with a Dongbei chef doing mostly Sichuan food (and a not so hidden nightclub upstairs.)

        1. This is good news! I went past last night on the bus and thought I saw the sign Bar Shu but wasn't sure. Will need to check it out.

          1. Looks good! Although, as usual there seems to be a massive discrepancy between the three Chinese only pages on the menu, and the English section.

            Is anyone able to supply a translation? Google is not proving to be of much help here.

            http://bashufang.co.uk/MainMenu.html

            1 Reply
            1. re: eljnwin

              the english menu in the restaurant is a lot different to that online one

            2. Took a trip to Bashu last night. Just me and one other so I wasn't able to sample a huge range of the menu, but I thought I'd share my thoughts. Had the dry fried green beans, dry fried chicken, and stir fried beef (on the waitress's recommendation). Food was very decent, if a little salty overall, be warned though that the portions are truly enormous. Nearly every table there left with doggie bags (except us, gluttons that we were)

              I'll probably be back sometime to sample the seafood. It wasn't out of this world good, but it's a solid option if you're in the area.