Now that I have your attention thanks to my traditional Chinese ceremonial gong complete with ball on stick to hit it with, I simply HAVE to tell you about Gourmet San, my new fav Chinese restaurant. In one deliciously dramatic swoop, this place has literally saved my life.
Located on Bethnal Green Road, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, and on the inside it’s basically someone’s living room. That someone no doubt harbours a taste for Chinese fans and luminous posters of craggy Oriental mountains.
But despite its appearance, this place was so COOL that after our meal our table was a scene of won-ton destruction. (Get it?!)
I’m saying this as an expert of Chinese food. Chinese food is totally my thing. If I had a superpower, it’d be the amazing ability to shoot spring rolls from my wrists and climb buildings using squirty noodles. *ZPPPPPT! KUNG-POW CHICKEN!*
And this was COOL Chinese, propa’ spicy Szechuan – plenty of garlic, chilli and pepper – happily washed down with a few Tsingtao’s.
What’s hot? The BBQ’d skewered lamb was aces. Juicy bits of meat, covered in fennel seeds, (gave some serious zing). It was one of the spiciest things we ate, in a meal that was the chilli equivalent of a giant hurricane heading towards your FACE.
We also dug the green beans with chilli. It was fresh, kinda like the Prince of Bel Air himself, but the way it danced in our mouths was more like Carlton. This al dente crunch of a veggie dish may have been my favourite. Gosh.
Heck, even the egg fried rice was a pleasure.
Not so good was the beef in oil, which was actually just beef with a crap load of chillis, floating in a murky pool of palm oil that was kept at smoking point temperature. Recommended by the waitress too. I’m never going to forget the numbing sensation of deep frying my tongue in a hurry.
The service was your typical Chinese restaurant type, y’know – a little moody, despondent, likely to take your plate away before you’ve finished eating. In retrospect, maybe they should have called the restaurant ‘Fuk Yu’.
But these are only minor quibbles, and I say quibbles because I really like that word. Quibbles. LOL.
So this EIC fortune cookie says – Go To Gourmet San. Man.
Gourmet San is at 261 Bethnal Green Road.