Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sichuan Restaurant, Box Hill by Big Fil

It was a dark, cold and wet night, perfect for some fiery Sichuan food. Not that that had been the original plan, but the new Malaysian Restaurant on Whitehorse Road we had intended to try wasn't open for dinner and we were all too hungry to travel far.

The windows at night were fogged up with the steam from the popular hotpots but we were after something a little different. The front room tables all came imbedded with cooking pots so we were led into the yellow room at the back. While a bit hidden away this was actually quite a nice room, restrained in the decorations, the tables well spaced and not too noisy.

Ms Counting her Calories and Ironman weren't very familiar with Sichuan cuisine so the pressure was on me to come up with pleasing suggestions. Ruby and Hungry Pete had previously mentioned that spicy tongue and heart were classic Sichuan, and I was keen to try two of my favourite dishes, the spicy fried eggplant and spicy cumin pork ribs. Ms L isn't keen on spicy food so for her it was a bowl of tomato soup with fried egg.

Our first dish was the heart and tongue. This looked good with fire engine red sauce, thin slivers of (cold) meat and a few sprigs of green on top. Taste wise I was a little indifferent, I am usually a big fan of tongue but prefer it hot and not so thinly sliced that the meaty flavour was a lost a little in the spicy sauce. Unusual and interesting but I probably wouldn't order it again.

Better was the fried eggplant. With a sweet chilli like sauce I like this dish, and at its best (to me anyway) it is almost like eggplant wedges rather than the soggy mess you often get with eggplant. These weren't quite that crispy with the strips towards the bottom a bit too soft. However they were popular with the whole table, including Ms L.

The dish I was most looking forward to was the spicy cumin pork ribs. I just adore this dish at Sichuan House, its one of my favourite things that I've had in Melbourne. I didn't believe that Sichuan Restaurant's version was a good, tender and flavoursome but with a lighter hand with the Sichuan pepper and the meat a little dry. Still, probably my favourite dish of the night.

The dish that surprised us, both in its size and taste, was Ms L's soup. Ordering the small bowl we were all taken aback when it reached the table. I suspect the small reference meant that it was suitable for a small table (4-6) rather than a single person. The soup was fairly light, very tomatoey and much better than we expected.

Photo 313

Pleasant atmosphere, lively without being rowdy, enjoyable food delivered quickly and reasonable prices for the serving sizes. Nothing to complain about but nothing to necessarily drag me all the way out to Box Hill when there are other, for me more convenient restaurants that I like as much. The only caveat is that Sichuan food is not like your normal Chinese suburban restaurant. No beef with black bean or sweet and sour pork, just spicy, somewhat oily food that warms you up and sticks to the ribs.

Food - 7
Ambience - 7
Service - 7
Price - 7

65 Carrington Road
Box Hill VIC 3128
Tel: (03) 9890 9898

Sichuan Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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