A new Chinese restaurant has opened a week or so ago next to Deptford bridge DLR station: Xi’an Cuisine Restaurant.
What used to be an all you can eat buffet appears to have a change of ownership (or a change of heart at the very least). Currently they are offering all the usual sanitised Chinese takeaway fare but have a small second menu of Xi’an dishes which I had to ask for (I suggested to the boss that they give non-Chinese customers both menus on arrival). I was told they are waiting for a chef to arrive next week and then will make some additions and alterations to the menu, but currently they still have a few interesting options.
Rou jia mo (meat sandwich?) was good. This dish is slowly stewed pork in a toasted unleavened bun and is typical to Xi’An and Shaanxi province. The rou jia mo I have eaten in the past were almost all in Beijing, and are not themselves done the Xi’an way (they are more kebab-like than slowly stewed) so I don’t have a great benchmark, but this was very tasty.
The zi ran yang rou jia mo (cumin lamb meat sandwich) was excellent – generously filled bun (excellent flat bread) with thin strips of braised lamb, mild chilli peppers and a healthy amount of cumin seeds – I can’t wait to go back for this.
An off-menu yu xiang qie zi was excellent (I asked for a qie zi dish and they knocked this up), very different to most aubergine dishes I have had – I’m not convinced how ‘yu xiang-eque’ it was. It was quite spicy but with no obvious chillis, and didn’t seem to have the addition of pork, soy, fermented bean paste, peppers or onions. It had a really smooth ginger flavour and slighty smoky taste, that I haven’t had in a dish outside of China (though my companion was not so sold on this dish and prefers the qiezi in taste inn, chilli cool, silk rd etc…).
The yang rou pao mo (crumbled bread in lamb/mutton stew) was fantastic. We were given the mo to break into small pieces at the table and then return to the kitchen to be cooked in a well flavoured stock, along with fungus and achingly tender and flavoursome pieces of lamb, a small amount of rice vermicelli and a warming chilli oil sitting on top of the broth. This was a really hearty and enjoyable dish.
The rou jia mo and yang rou jia mo were about £3 each, the yangrou pao mo was £7 ish (and £1 per extra bread), the qiezi was £6, so good value.
It’s great to see some more Chinese regional cuisine in London and I’m very interested to see what happens when the new chef turns up next week and to try a few more things on the menu. I will post an update in the near future.