Thursday, 27 March 2014

Losing our lucky stars at Chuan Wang Szechuan

Ok ... Firstly we do miss Lucky Star! I'm pretty sure that hands down they served the best Chicken with Salted Fish Fried Rice, and their chilli oil with the crispy fried anchovies accompaniment was superb!

And I have to admit that Lucky Star was such a big hole to fill, that 190 Hopkins Street's new tenants barely garnered a fleeting glance every time we scoured the streetscape on subsequent CBA Friday nights for a place to hitch our grumbling tummies. 

But there is power in a name, and collusion in a tweet, so we found ourselves giving Chuan Wang not just the once over, but actually stepping into its environs and partaking of some of its vittles.

Now Szechuan food does not necessarily imply a tipping of the Scoville scale, although it is generally spicier than its Northern counterparts. But it should have big bold flavours.

Chuan Wang has the potential of big bold flavours, but our cook for the night was a tad heavy handed reaching into the salt cellar. Which is a shame really, because underneath that mouth stripping salty veneer lies some amazing and tasty food.

If you're new to Szechuan cuisine, let me recommend our family favourites: Kung Pao Chicken, MaPo Tofu, Spicy Deep Fried Chicken (with the calvacade of dried red chillies), Hot & Sour Soup, and possibly stir fried beans of some description.

We were in the mood for something approximating a reasonable home-cooked meal - i.e. A soup, a vegetable and something fried.

The first dish to hit the table was our Spicy Stir Fried Water Spinach. Nicely crunchy, not too oily, but as mentioned previously, a little heavy on the salt. They pretty much pile up the steam rice into a mound in the serving bowl, so mental note, one serve will do for 2 people.

Then we waited, and waited, and waited ...

Until about 20 mins in, our lovely waitress comes and apologises saying that the fish was taking a bit longer ... which is hospitality speak for sorry we forgot to actually cook the damn thing!

But lets just overlook this as a simple unintentional mistake. It was easily forgiven when our Salt and Pepper Stir Fried fish arrived at the table ... oh the visual drama!! Cubes of nicely battered fried fish sitting snugly in the Mort they were so recently tethered to in sinew and flesh.

And that framework crisp fried into a curlicue reaching for the skies, a shower of goldenfried egg filigree raining down from the heavens to kiss the deliciousness beneath ...

Yes and way too salty in parts! But you know what, there was nothing left on the plate at the end of it all. M even picked up that sorry empty carcass and practically chewed off all the bones.

To soothe the fatty throat, we also ordered a Pork and Vegetable Soup, which was suitably refreshing, with lots of lovely bits of winter melon, although precious little green leafy as depicted on the menu.

The soup was served with this wonderfully gingery-springoniony-chillioily sauce, which was an equally wonderful counterpoint to both the meatiness of the pork and the delicate melon slices.

So in summation, what do we reckon? Well I reckon its worth a few more repeat visits, the food is full of flavor (we'll slowly work on the excessive salt factor) and robust, and perfect for evenings that are gradually getting cooler as we slump our way towards winter.


Chuan Wang on Urbanspoon


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