Friday, 26 March 2010

Gourmet San Part 2

Last time I went to Gourmet San I said I was impressed, but needed to go back before I made a final verdict.  Sadly that verdict is one born out of  disappointment with what was at best an average meal.  Things were going badly from the off as we were led to a small, secluded room upstairs away from the fun and bustling main room.
The food did little to take our mind of the shabby surroundings.  The green beans I enjoyed so much last time still had their lovely crunchy texture but the flavour was drowned out by the kitchen using far too much preserved vegetable.  A stewed-fried aubergine dish was tasty enough but had no real wow factor.  I also got some sweet and sour pork despite it being a Sichuan place because when I saw someone else have it last visit it looked exactly like the mounds of delicious, hyper crispy versions of this dish I've had in Beijing.  Sadly what arrived was a limp mess of what was mainly fat and skin (and not in an unctuous, melty way), this would have been okay if it had been fried to a hard crisp.  Sadly not, the whole thing was incredibly soggy and unpleasant and went largely untouched.  The stand out dish was the Old Place style crab.  This was a mound of crab pieces in the shell, battered and fried with chillies, lots and lots of Sichuan pepper and some (slightly pointless) peanuts.  This was a delicious, highly flavoured, mix of crispy and soft textures.  Sadly, however, it didn't make up for the disappointment of the other dishes.

Given the difference between the two renditions of the green bean dish we had its probably fair to say that the kitchen lacks some consistency, which is a shame because they are clearly capable of turning out great food.  With an ever growing range of good Sichuan places, though, keeping consistent will be important for Gourmet San.

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