There are some great little spots springing up in the redeveloped laneways of Northbridge and Yu Ren Ma Tou in Washing Lane is one of the best I have come across. A very small dining area – maybe 2 dozen people can squash in – but excellent Sichaun style cuisine at unbeatable prices. Unlicensed and if you are bringing along wine don’t expect anything other than a water glass to drink from… but the food more than makes up for that!
The menu offers a range of set lunches – main, rice, vegetable, soup – or you can order any of the mains slightly larger for sharing and this is what we did – three shared mains, rice and a dish of the house spicy pickle.
The latter is similar to Kimchi, crunchy, spicy cabbage pimped up with chilli and Sichuan peppers – excellent fresh zesty flavours.
Our three mains began with a dish of squid with pickled peppers – a generous serve of well-cooked squid, tender and succulent – in a very spicy broth swimming with pickled chilli and vegetables – the warm cucumber was an especially nice addition. Really great amalgam of flavours, just a very good dish.
Onto the second – spicy clams – fat, juicy clams with onion, chilli, a mass of Sichaun pepper with its characteristic numbing effect – another well turned out dish. Could eat a lot of this!
And finally a whole fish, steamed. Moist, falling off the bone and topped with a mix of (I think) nine different types of chopped chilli – superb again!
The prices here are brilliant – the set lunches range from $7.99 through $10.99, $13.99 to a top of $19.99 for some of the seafood dishes – why buy a sandwich when you can get food of this quality for lunch?
Yu Ren Ma Tou is a winner – I will definitely be back soon.