Bar Shu [Test entry to be deleted]
The key strength of Bar Shu is the involvement, as consultant, of Fuchsia Dunlop, author of the critically-acclaimed Sichuan Cookery'.
Her influence is most evident from the beautifully-written, but gaudy, pictorial menu - it covers the gamut of Sichuan cuisine, including dishes that most Chinese restaurants would dismiss as being unsuitable for westerners.
Our first dish, man-and-wife slices, really packed a punch - cold, thin slices of tongue, tripe and other offal doused in a fiery chilli oil then sprinkled with mouth-tingling Sichuan pepper. Wonderful. Another appetizer, numbing and hot dried beef, also excited - but it was tamer, sweeter and reminiscent of beef jerky.
Sadly the mains were patchier. Gong Bao chicken, which I'd loved on a previous visit, was this time overwhelmed by sugar. Specially imported bamboo shoots were also wasted, accompanying tender but tasteless braised beef. Twice-cooked pork was better - a little too salty, but very, very tasty.
Spirits were lifted by a small portion of Dan Dan noodle with flavoursome ground pork and balanced sesame sauce. We also loved the dry fried green beans, showered with diced pork and dried shrimp.
Despite slow and occasionally amateurish service, Bar Shu is a welcome addition to London's culinary landscape. Just a little more attention and consistency in the kitchen would justify the enthusiastic praise from Fuchsia's fellow food writers.
Bar Shu, 28 Frith Street, London W1D 5LF. Tel: 020 7287 6688.
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