Looking for your next culinary adventure in London? These Chinese restaurants in the capital, specialising in Sichuan or Schezuan dishes, are not for the faint-hearted.
Looking to tickle your taste buds with Chinese Sichuan cuisine? Well, you wouldn’t be the first. London’s foodie scene has been championing this spicy cuisine, which originates from the eponymous southwestern Chinese province, for years.
Known for being on the hotter end of the scale, Sichuan dishes aren’t for the faint-hearted. Prepare yourself for bold flavours and tantalising spices in recipes taken by Chinese tradition, right outside your door step in London.
Whether it’s your first time experimenting with Sichuan or if you’re already in love with the flavours, Stylist has done the hard work for you and tracked down the best Chinese restaurants serving up hot and spicy Sichuan cuisine in London, so you can spice up your life, ASAP.
If authenticity is what you’re after, Er Mei could be the perfect place. Not only was it the first Sichuan restaurant in China Town, but both the owners, chef and culinary director are all Sichuanese and are dedicated to ensuring authenticity is key.
Nestled in the heart of China Town’s action, you’ll forget you’re in London moments after stepping inside. As you’re transported on a journey to Asia, course by course, you’ll get your introduction to what home-style Sichuan cooking tastes like.
This established restaurant is also attempting to challenge the stereotype that Sichuan food is all about fiery chillis; it instead focuses more on the flavours at the root of Sichuanese culture. In fact, the restaurant serves food from the Sichuan region that cannot be found anywhere else in London.
With high standards and an authentic nature, we reckon Er Mei definitely deserves a spot on our list.
Where is it? Er Mei, 6 Lisle Street, Chinatown, London WC2H 7BG. Visit the Er Mei website here.
Sichuan Chef packs a fiery punch, sitting on a quiet street in Earls Court. Its modest style is mixed with traditional décor to reflect the cuisine’s original region, while the menu plunges you into the depths of Sichuan food. Luckily, jumping off the deep end means tucking into unimaginably delicious spices and giving your taste buds one hell of an experience.
Thanks to the petite size of the restaurant, an evening spent here with friends is warmly atmospheric. Surrounded by the chitter chatter of other diners, you can while away the hours trying dishes like the beef slices in Sichuan style with peanut bits or the jellyfish in chilli oil.
Heighten your experience and be a little brave by adding the chef’s own special sauce to your meal for an extra dose of authenticity.
Where is it? Sichuan Chef, 15 Kenway Rd, Kensington, South London SW5 0RP. Visit the Sichuan Chef website here.
If Barshu’s motto is anything to go by, we could be Sichuan converts for life. As the restaurant’s website proudly states: “China is the place for food, but Sichuan is the place for flavour.” Certainly a promise that’s got our tastebuds tingling.
Barshu is pretty confident in its dishes, describing the menu’s flavours as ‘seductive’. Be careful you don’t play with fire, though, as some of the dishes are also described as ‘numbing-and-hot’ - an insider tip says a dollop of ginger-juice sauce makes these more refreshing.
The impressive décor is a sight to see alone and mixed with the bonus of the food (and what a bonus it is) allows for a great evening, you’re in for a night filled with culinary adventure while perched comfortably in the atmosphere of cultured China Town in lively Soho!
Where is it? Barshu, 28 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 5LF. Visit Barshu’s website here.
Ma La Sichuan
Situated in the middle of Westminster, Ma La Sichuan exudes class and charm. Traditional Sichuan décor is mixed with stunning high-end design to create a warm atmosphere that feels very welcoming.
Each dish is completely unique, encouraging diners to explore the hundreds of flavours available. Make sure you complete your meal with a sweet treat of homemade mango pudding from the dessert menu. We recommend ending the evening with some calming fresh Tie Guan Yin Tea.
Where is it? Ma La Sichuan, 37 Monck St, Westminster, London SW1P 2BL. Visit the Ma La Sichuan website here.
Red ‘n’ Hot
As you open the menu at Red ‘n’ Hot, the ‘Husband & Wife Pork Lung Slices’ definitely stands out. Sichuan is an intriguing cuisine.
At Red ‘n’ Hot you will not be disappointed with the spice, they do not play it soft. (We’ve warned you!)
So, even if you like your food with a twang of heat, prepare yourself as all the way from Sichuan to Kings Cross, these recipes have not lost their flame.
Where is it? Red ‘n’ Hot, R37 Chalton St, Kings Cross, London NW1 1JD
Imagine yourself strolling through the mysterious residence of Sichuan, silent silhouettes behind the walls of paper mirroring lively surroundings, the real China. You’ll be feeling as if you’ve already started your dream trip without even leaving London.
If you like a variety of choice, here at Stylist we have found the Sichuan experience for you, its quote being “Each one of a hundred dishes has its own unique taste.” Talk about big menus!
So, run your way through scrumptious dish after dish experiencing all the tastes to fill your night to the full to become fully in touch with the Sichuan food culture. We’ll let you in on a little secret, if you go on their website, click ‘Promorion’ and sign up, you’ll get 10% off your meal, little extra money off to save for that trip to China!
Where is it? Sichuan Folk, 32 Hanbury St, Spitalfields, London E1 6QR. Visit the Sichuan Folk website here.
Images: Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images