Tuesday, 15 March 2011
At Last! General Tso Makes It To London
I've finally tracked down a decent version of General Tso's chicken (左宗堂雞) in London. Never having had a proper rendition of this American-Chinese dish before, I wasn't sure quite what to anticipate. That said, it felt more real compared to my previous brush with what turned out to be a fake General.
From what I read and had been told, I was expecting a tart piquant dish with sweet undertones. I wasn't disappointed. It was hotter and less vinegary than I expected, but very moreish nonetheless. So where did I finally track down this dish? It was at the relaunched Ba Shan, previously a xiao chi (小吃) or 'small-eats' joint, that now specialises in Hunan cuisine.
The General Tso's chicken was one of many delights, as we also enjoyed in no particular order: mashed aubergine, potato slivers, duck egg with chillies, beef brisket in mini-wok, Peng's fried tofu, hand-torn cabbage, steamed catfish with salted chillies and noodles, and Chinese bacon with dried radish.
Everything was excellent, and the dining room had a warm charm that is all too rare in London's Chinese restaurants. All told, a brilliant dinner with some excellent company. Highly recommended.
Apologies for the brief write-up but I've got review fatigue. The thing is I'm finding it increasingly difficult to do a full blow-by-blow account of the restaurants that I visit. That's not to say I'm getting bored of eating out in London; it's just that I'm not up for writing about the experience at any great length.
I hope you understand and I'm not ruling out a return to writing 'proper' restaurant reviews should I get my mojo back. In the meantime, I'll be blogging about other stuff that I hope you'll find as interesting as I do.
If you can't get a table here...
... then you might want to try Golden Day on Shaftesbury Avenue. It isn't as accomplished as Ba Shan but it also serves Hunan cuisine.
Ba Shan, 24 Romilly St, London, W1D 5AH, (Tel 020-7287-3266)
Nearest tube: Leicester Square
PS: For a more in-depth review of this meal, by The Grubworm, please click here.