First, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year! Hopefully you’ve all got back into routine easily lol. So, lets talk about Barshu, a Chinese restaurant just on the edge of Chinatown, on the corner of Frith Street and Romilly Street. Amen independently chose the restaurant after months of me nagging him to pick one without first coming to me approve the menu because he says I’m a “picky” eater (but I’d think he should already know what I like after 3 and half years, right!?). Well, I trusted his choice and we headed down to Barshu for our Friday reservation at 6pm. We used the underground, got off at Tottenham Court Road, and walked for 7 minutes through Soho’s busy streets.
The restaurant has traditional Chinese décor with varnished wooden floors; tables and the chairs are almost ‘throne’-like lol. Our waiter handed us the menu and it was nice to see that they had pictures to go with every dish. Before I talk about the food, I have to say that I’m not the biggest fan of Chinese food (apart from dim sum) and especially the Spicy Sichuan that they use. Sichuan chillies are very spicy, tingling and mouth numbing, and I had a really bad experience with them at Hutong. Amen normally loves chillies and I do not, but even he is not a big fan of Sichuan. So looking through the menu and repeatedly seeing this chilli in a lot of their dishes, I was wondering why the heck Amen chose this restaurant.
In his defence they are at least 6 chicken dishes for me to choose from but the only warm chicken starter was the fragrant chicken with chilli and Sichaun pepper. From the picture it didn’t look overly spiced, so I gave it a go – I was so wrong! It was so damn spicy, but when you could actually taste the chicken it was nice. My whole mouth was on fire, which I hated because this meant that my whole meal was going to be destroyed. Oh, Amen loved MY chicken starter, of course. I didn’t eat much of it so my mouth would calm down before my main arrived. For Amen’s starters he had the Numbing-hot-dried beef, which also has the sichaun chilli pepper. Amen thought the beef was reheated as the meat was tough, although it was still a bit tasty but not as spicy as he would’ve hoped.
For my main, it was between the Stir fried chicken with Shitake mushrooms or the fragrant chicken in a pile of chillies, of course I went for the stir fried chicken as I was not looking to die lol. But I have to say nearly everyone in the restaurant ordered the chicken in a pile of chillies – clearly some crazy people in London as the dish is literally all Chilli. It is a chongquing speciality and its what all the reviews go crazy about but that was not enough to tempt me. But, my stir fried chicken wasn’t bad, it was tasty and it was a wet stir fry which I prefer as it makes tastier with some rice on the side. For Amen’s main he had the Twice-cooked pork, which is boiled belly pork slices stir-fried with chilli bean paste. He really disliked this dish as he thought it was pretty much just piles of streaky bacon rashers. He then had the King Prawns with sizzling spices, which had quite a few prawns and they were big, meaty, and tasty (I advice that you probably have this as a sharing meal).
We didn’t go for any desserts, so it was a swift in and out, we had our meal in just under an hour. I don’t think Barshu is the restaurant that will change my mind on chinese food but if you like authentic chinese then definitely give Barshu a go. But the food is also pricey and the service could be better, we probably only had a waiter come to take our order, place our food and gives us the bill – even those were cold.
Dress Code: Casual
Price: £35 each (without alcohol or dessert)
Rating: 3 out of 5