Dainty Sichuan

Posted on | July 31, 2011 | 29 Comments

I love spicy food. And I like being prepared. So I prepared myself for Dainty Sichuan. I tied my hair up, wore short sleeves, and had extra packs of pocket tissues in my purse. Ready for some hot food, I met I-Hua, Allan, Celeste, Bryan, Injera, Anna and partners for a chilli date.

We started with a simple dish of shredded potato threads with hot capsicum ($15.80). Not bad… but I was itching for some chilli!

And chilli we got. The Chongqing chilli chicken ($25.80) was basically a plate of dried chillies sprinkled with Sichuan pepper and the occasional small piece of fried chicken. So. Much. Chilli. The chilli isn’t really edible, so it hardly seems worth the effort! It was also quite mouth numbing with all the Sichuan pepper. I think it’s one of those “must order” dishes, but since there’s so much interesting food on the menu I doubt I’d order it again.

Like the Chongqing chicken, the ma po tofu ($18.80) had lots of Sichuan pepper flavouring the sauce that the soft tofu sat in. I love love love ma po tofu, and this wasn’t bad, though I like it spicier – much spicier – because I like the contrast between the almost bland, soft tofu with the spicy sauce.

PS: My mum makes the best ma po tofu. :D.

The spicy beef hearts and tongue slices ($15.80) were interesting. Sliced thinly, I seem to recall that they were served cold. I’m a big offal fan, but I wouldn’t order it again. It just wasn’t tasty enough to spend stomach space on!

Fortunately the lamb in the cumin lamb slices ($26.80) were fantastic – heavily spiced with chilli and cumin, which made for a great combination.

The boiling fish in golden basin ($38.80) was one of my favourite dishes. See that pot? It looks like soup, but it was actually full of oil, plus fish, deep fried chilli and Sichuan pepper. The photos in the menu show how it’s prepared – the fish slices and Sichuan pepper are placed in the bowl, and then dried chilli and hot oil are poured in. The end result was silky pieces of fish flavoured with chilli and pepper. You have to eat it while it’s hot though, as once the oil cools it gets a bit icky.

Green beans are one of my favourite vegies, and happily these dry stir fried beans ($19.80) were pretty good, though the mince on top was pretty salty (and probably packed with MSG). But the beans were all nicely wrinkled from the heat of the wok, and the saltiness was tempered by eating it with plain rice.

Another one of Dainty’s “must order” dishes, this is the fish flavoured eggplant ($17.80). It was a bit strange, the eggplant was deep fried and cooked in a sauce of sweet and sour pickled chilli. But it actually tasted like the fried eggplant had been coated in honey, which meant the eggplant had a sweet crispy coating and a soft interior. Strange, but also really good.

I’ve only started to enjoy eating preserved eggs in the past couple of years, and I really enjoyed the preserved duck eggs with hot capsicum ($11.80). They were so thick and creamy.

And finally, we had a plate of spicy duck tongues ($18.80). Who on earth ordered this?? I wasn’t into them at all. The tongues had a big bone in the middle and were served cold. Not worth the effort or stomach space!

All in all, I enjoyed our meal at Dainty, though I didn’t think it was that spicy. Everyone has their own chilli tolerance, but I’m certainly no superhero (I mean, I’m not even Thai) but I found that my preparations were unnecessary. The bill at the end was surprisingly low, so if you can definitely eat cheaply there, particularly if you’re in a large group. Plus if you’re with lots of people, you can try more dishes.

Btw, if you’re on a diet, you might want to steer clear. So much oil!

For more on Dainty Sichuan, check out these blogs:

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  • [googleMap name="Dainty Sichuan" width="600" height="30" directions_to="false"]176 Toorak Road, South Yarra, VIC, Australia[/googleMap]

    Dainty Sichuan
    176 Toorak Rd
    South Yarra
    Phone: 03 9078 1686

    Dainty Sichuan on Urbanspoon

    Comments

    29 Responses to “Dainty Sichuan”

    1. fatbooo
      July 31st, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

      Haha, I liked different dishes! My faves were the duck tongues and beef hearts, and of course the fish ‘soup’. I didn’t take to the cumin lamb like you did.

      Great to see that you’ve got fantastic spice tolerance. Mmm looking at the dishes makes me hungry. 2 years ago, I was terrified of Sichuan food cos of the insane amt of oil… not anymore!

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Omg, you liked the duck tongues?! Did you order that dish?? ;)

      Haha, there really is *a lot* of oil. I couldn’t believe the fish… but it was so good!

      [Reply]

    2. leaf (the indolent cook)
      July 31st, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

      Good to hear you enjoyed it overall! Re: spice level of dishes – they can be a little inconsistent. I remember on one occasion, for example, the mapo tofu was really spicy, and then another time I visited it was only moderately spicy. Hmmm…

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Oh good to know! Maybe next time I’ll be all cocky, and it’ll blow my socks off ;)

      [Reply]

    3. Hannah
      July 31st, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

      Oh, poor Agnes’ stomach space! So much more capacity for deliciousness than it was allowed!

      I do like the look of those eggs, though. Gloriously evil looking :D

      P.S. Yes our teeth and ambitions are bared! Be prepared!

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Do you eat preserved eggs? They’re definitely an acquired taste.

      PS: Yeah! Be prepared. We’ll be prepared! For what?

      [Reply]

    4. Bianca
      July 31st, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

      Oooooh, I can feel the tinglyness of the sichuan pepper on my tongue!! Great photos :) I have had Dainty Sichuan on my list for a while now, and I think you have sold me!

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Definitely worth a visit if you’re not scared of spice and oil :D

      [Reply]

      Bianca Reply:

      Spice and oil!? Why those are two of my favourite things ;) I wish I had friends that shared my insane love for them though -sigh- lol!

      [Reply]

    5. penny aka jeroxie
      August 1st, 2011 @ 12:43 am

      Sichuan is pretty oily. Have you checked out Chinese Spicy and barbie in Flemington yet?

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      No not yet – but will definitely get there soonish.

      [Reply]

    6. Celeste@Berrytravels
      August 1st, 2011 @ 10:06 am

      Oh gosh. Let’s go again! I’m salivating just reading this post. My fave was definitely that ‘fish soup’ !!! XD

      Let’s plan for the one in flemington next. Dying for some chilli!

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Chilli fest part 2! Yes, when are you back??

      [Reply]

    7. Ashley Ng
      August 1st, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

      Wow looks like a good ol feast! :) The Chongqing chilli chicken looks absolutely ridiculous! All that dried chilli!

      Love the look of the ma po tofu though, would be perfect in this wintery weather still! :)

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Ma po tofu is SO delicious :D

      [Reply]

    8. Gourmetgetaways
      August 2nd, 2011 @ 11:06 am

      Oh!! That all looks so delicious, although the dried chili in the first dish looks just plain scary.

      Yum!!! I will have to add this to my long list of places to try.

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      The chilli does look scarier than it is – the dish wasn’t that spicy! :)

      [Reply]

    9. Jennie
      August 2nd, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

      OMG twinsy… the mapo tofu made me drool… I think I’d have to visit this place with hubby :D

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      You should! Next date night? ;)

      [Reply]

    10. Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi
      August 3rd, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

      Wow love the different offerings from this place. Am now dreaming of the boiling fish and want to try the strange eggplant dish too! Glad to know I won’t have to take a box of tissues.

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Who’d thought that fried, sweet eggplant would be so interestingly good?! :D

      [Reply]

    11. Kat (Spatula, Spoon and Saturday)
      August 3rd, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

      Bow to my awesome Thainess!!!

      I am so bummed that I missed out on Dainty. That will teach me to balance my calendar properly. I am also so bummed that Sichuan Dining Room closed and I have nowhere to go but Dainty :(

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Come to this side of town, we can try the Flemington place! :D

      And I do bow to your awesome Thainess ;)

      [Reply]

    12. msihua
      August 3rd, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

      *errr*.. *puts up hands*… I think it was me… I decided to do the tongues.. but I didn’t like them at all.. I don’t like the bone… :P

      My favourite was the lamb and the century egg.. SO GOOD!

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      I should’ve known it was you! ;)

      [Reply]

    13. yasmeen
      August 8th, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

      Looks like a great time! As this place is just a short walk from me, my man and I headed down for dinner last week for the first time. I’d been smelling the intensely amazing aromas every day walking home from the train station and I can’t believe it took us so damn long to get in the door!

      Well all I have to tell you is… I’m NOT a spicy food eater. I can’t handle it. I’m probably worse than George Calombaris. Nonetheless it was great in a hilarious, eye-popping, entertaining way :)

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Oh the smell that drifts down the street is AMAZING.

      I hope you enjoyed dinner as much as you could’ve with your limited spiciness tolerance. I’m sure it was funny to watch :D

      [Reply]

    14. Thanh
      August 19th, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

      Oh man, glad I didn’t go that night as I wasn’t completely well. All that oil would have killed me.

      [Reply]

      Agnes Reply:

      Yes but you would’ve died happy :p

      [Reply]

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