Sanxia Renjia, 36 Deptford Broadway

Given the fairly abject state of Chinese food options locally, I thought this review of Deptford's Sichuan and Hubei cuisine specialist, Sanxia Renjia, worth sharing with you, just as Monkeyboy shared it with me.

The Observer's Jay Rayner describes it as "an arse-kicking, cheek-slapping, thigh-spanking, gloriously ring-burning Sichuan restaurant." He continues:

Sanxia is on a different mission. Yes, they do have a list of Cantonese standards. The unadventurous of Blackheath must have their hit of sweet and sour pork. But the staff, like the rest of the menu, are eager. They want you to march across unexplored territory.

It appears they even managed to convince Mr Crispy Duck. As he was paying, we heard him complaining that the chicken with red chillies had a greater volume of chillies than chicken. Which is exactly as it’s meant to be. The drifts of crisp-fried red chillies are there for the aromatics, to be dug through in search of the treasure. They are not there for eating.

They are, however, very pretty, which is great because the room isn’t much of a looker. The big light is on. The floor is a white marble slab, as if it’s an airport baggage reclaim hall. Outside the traffic thunders by, on its way to places too manicured to inspire a song by Squeeze. Pay attention instead to what is in your bowl. What’s most striking about the food here is the commitment to light and shade. Dinner in a Sichuan restaurant is usually food as action movie. It’s all bash and crack.

For the full review, click here.

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