I spent a marvellous couple of weeks in Sichuan province back in the late 90s and still long to see a Sichuan restaurant in Canberra (or even Australia) serving food anything like what I ate back then.
On top of that I was devastated when, a few months ago, the excellent La Pasa Singaporean restaurant closed to make way for the Red Chilli Sichuan chain (that website has some fantastic chinglish howlers if you’re into that sort of thing).
But the refit is finally over and Red Chilli has been unleashed on Civic and they’re still doing lunchboxes for $8.50.
Yesterday at noon they weren’t quite ready so the Blue Olive got to make me a sandwich. But today the bain maries were loaded up and ready to go.
I went with Kung Pow Chicken (how can anyone resist that name?) and “beef and potato”. In the photo you can also see some things that look like hollowed out potatoes.
That in fact is “Chinese corn bread” and it is possibly the densest material you will encounter this side of neutronium.
I wasn’t expecting greatness here but I was pleasantly surprised. The flavours were rich and well balanced. The rice was marvelously fluffy. The corn bread was a novel experience.
I rather enjoyed it and will be going back.
(For more sub $10 lunches in Civic check the tag, if you’ve got recommendations let me know.)