The serene entrance area of Dainty Sichuan, adorned with a small rock and water feature, gold fish and carved mahogany screen, belies the sweating and gasping going on in the dining room. For this place serves Sichuan food with the gloves off – chilli so potent that you can smell it in the air as soon as you arrive.
The lunch menu is extremely good value, offering a large selection of dishes all served with a large mound of rice for $10 or under. We tried the ma po tofu ($9.50) and the kung pao prawns ($10), the latter on the suggestion of Paul Jewson, the chef at nearby café Outpost. Both of them were rated ‘two chillies’ (out of three).
Well, what can I say, they were HOT. The ma po tofu contained many cubes of silken tofu and the distinct numbing heat of Szechuan pepper – to be honest, I’m not sure why I keep coming back as I really don’t enjoy the feeling of half of my tongue being paralysed. While the juicy prawn and peanut dish was scaled the same in terms of spicyness, I thought it was much hotter and it branded a ring of fire around my mouth.
We couldn’t finish either dish and so the cheap meals were an even better bargain as we had them for lunch the next day with some stir fried bok choy.
If you like your food hot, cheap and tasty, then I recommend Dainty Sichuan for your fix.
- Dainty Sichuan, 176 Toorak Rd, South Yarra +61 3 9078 1686