Location: 176 Toorak Rd, South Yarra Phone: 03 9078 1686
Cuisine: Chinese Overall Impression: 7/10
Dainty Sichuan is not for the faint-hearted. Serving up authentic chilli, pepper and garlic laden Chinese cuisine from the Sichuan province, the food is delightfully complex and flavoursome. To celebrate the start of the long weekend, R, J and I after a lot of drinking at Campari House on Hardware Lane decided to head down for a "heated" affair at Dainty Sichuan. We were thankful that we had made a booking as the queues were frightening.
We feared our levels of intoxication might slum to dangerously low levels, so we immediately ordered our beers before looking through the menu.
Fish flavoured Eggplant $19.80
The fish flavoured eggplant was certainly the dish of the night. Pristinely deep-fried and covered in a gooey caramelised chilli sauce, it was brilliant! The spice was perfect. There were hints of sourness, sweetness and ample amount of saltiness. The flavours had depth and complexity and were all well-balanced. It was delicious.
Fried Pork Slices $27.80
Our second course was also deliciously deep fried. (One thing you should expect from Sichuan cuisine is plenty of oil and chilli). This dish is probably good for those that cannot take too much spice. It was very tame compared to the other dishes we had. Again, there were a copious amount of flavours.
Spicy Ribbon Fish $18.80
The Spicy Ribbon Fish was our least favourite dish of the night. Although the flavours were pleasant and interesting, every bite of the preserved and salty fish fillets was filled with mini, utterly annoying fish bones. As such, the dish was left mostly untouched.
Chongqing Chilli Chicken $27.80
The infamous Congqing Chilli Chicken caught me by surprise. It was by far the spiciest dish of anything that I have ever encountered. And trust me, I eat and can take a lot of spice. It was delicious although something about it tasted potent. I could feel my lips and tongue swell with every mouthful but there was something addictive about this dish as well. The main flaw of the dish is the fact that the chicken pieces weren't exactly slices of chicken. They were all little bits of chicken ribs. Every little morsel was filled with bones. There was hardly any meat. We had to work very hard for the delicious spicy chicken bits.
I'm not sure if it was the beer or the ridiculous amount of chilli we had just devoured, but our dinner at Dainty Sichuan ended with R challenging J to two spoonfuls of pure chilli from the Chongqing chicken dish for a $100. It was a challenge J could not resist and suffered greatly for over the next 24 hours. R on the other hand, thought it was the best $100 he had ever spent and kept replaying his footage of J eating the chilli and his facial expression as he quickly came to the realisation that he had made a big mistake.
All in all, Dainty Sichuan is a fiery experience that I would highly recommend.