In the heart of Washing Lane – off William Street, Northbridge – is ChengDu 21 a Chinese restaurant focussing on hot pots and Sichuan food.
At the front of the restaurant are large coolers with baskets of ingredients to choose to go into your hotpot – a range of vegetables, thinly sliced meat, prawns and other seafood – pick out what you want, hand over to the waiters and off to the kitchen it goes to come out in a large bowl. A choice of broth or soup is offered in which your particular basket of food is cooked. Alternatively with a hotplate set up on your table, cook your own.
Additionally there are a range of set dishes on the menu to choose from – and this is what we did at lunch last week. Kicking off with a plate of black fungi, cooked with chilli and sesame – al dente fungus, nice and slippery and chewy, pimped up with zesty chilli and aromatic sesame oil and seeds.
Our next choice a classic Sichuan style dish – boiled fish in chilli oil – as with all Sichuan places around town the serves are rather large – and so it proved. A bowl of broth, chilli oil, mouth numbing Sichuan pepper, zesty chopped dried chilli, and much tender, juicy slices of fish fillet. A bowl of rice was all it took to make it a meal for two – in fact more than a meal for two.
Our dishes were very good quality, and the other tables eating and slurping away at a variety of hot pots and soups likewise seemed to be enjoying themselves.
ChengDu21 is not licenced, but we BYO’d – but no glasses! A choice of a china coffee cup or plastic juice tube – we opted for the latter. So if you do bring your own be under no illusions!
Putting aside the lack of glassware, the food is very good in quality, quantity and value for money. I will definitely be back.