My Old Place (Revisited) – Szechuan in the East End come and get it!

My Old Place has remained one of the most reliable spots for me over the years, delivering plate after plate of fragrant hot oil slicked Szechuan cuisine. It always arrives fast, piping hot, delectable and in large quantities. Ruddy cheap too. It’s so good to see so many Hunan and Sichuan led Chinese restaurants blossoming in our City. It makes a change to the blemished interpretations of what Chinese food really is. My Old Place is no exception. And finally the staff share a smile with me, it’s taken a couple of years for that. I hope you can enjoy it as much as I do. (My first review can be seen here).

Here are a couple of our visits – this one is in August 2016. The Japanese salarymen are in full swing.

Sliced beef and ox tongue in chilli sauce £8. It’s s melange of offaly good parts (see what I did there) served cold, is coated in fiery hot oil, sesame, coriander along with mouth-numbing Szechuan pepper.

Slices of honey-comb tripe is included – it isn’t for the faint of heart, but the whole beast should be enjoyed.

3 plain rices at £6 is a must for three people, as the food is so robust in flavour. It’s the short grain variety which can be picked up in sticky clumps with your chopsticks.

Fried French green beans with spicy mince pork £8. They are deep fried to give them that craggy exterior and what happens in this process is that the moisture is reduced in the beans. This concentrates the inherent sweet flavour. It’s then wok fried in umami laden salty fermented soy beans, dried chilli, pork and a heap of vampire slaying garlic.

Stir fried pork with soybean sauce £8.90. Slithers of pork, stir fired with peppers, garlic, chilli and that wonderfully savoury fermented soybean sauce – it’s addictive stuff.

Stewed beef with potato £8.90. It comes with deep slow cooked brisket flavour, fully amped with the aniseed punch of star anise, the fragrancy of ginger.

The damage for 3 people.

December 2016

Notice how these green beans feature every time?

That short grain rice is absolutely necessary.

BBQ lamb skewers (£2 per a skewer). These cubes of fatty lamb come with a deep, delectable smoky flavour – they are straight off the grill and BBQ lamb does not get better than this.

Yu-Shiang shredded pork £8.90. It’s sweet, it’s sour, it’s hot and savoury from those pungent fermented soy beans. And with all those vegetables tangled in, it must be good for you – don’t ever question it.

Pork and pak choi dumplings £7.20. Hand crafted in-house by a lovely lady in the corner or the restaurant (yes she has her own mini kitchen) and left to loiter in hot water until cooked. They’re brilliant and are made for sharing as that’s caring.

They seem to bring soy sauce by default with these, reject this gesture as vinegar is the perfect marriage. So ask for vinegar.

The damage for 3 diners.

Verdict:

When did I go? Aug 2016 & Dec 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £15/£20 per head
The good: I will challenge anyone who can find a better meal in the City for less that £20 per head. If you really haven’t visited then take my advice and pull your finger out!
The bad: The interior is drab and staff may appear to be rude – don’t worry it’s a language barrier, smile and they will smile back.
Rating: 4/5
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 88-90 Middlesex St, London E1 7EZ
Closest tube: Liverpool St
Phone: 020 7247 2200

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