Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant, Chinatown

Just like how there are so many Chinese languages, there are numerous different regional Chinese cuisines. Cantonese, Shanghai, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Xin Jiang, Fujian and many more. Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant specialises in Sichuan (aka Szechuan) cuisine. This type of cuisine emphasises on bold and strong flavours in their food especially the use of pepper, spices and garlic. It also has a surprisingly large number of branches across Sydney including two in the Haymarket area which made things very confusing when we were trying to find the restaurant. 

Apparently the restaurant we went to was the fancier looking Harbour Plaza Branch as opposed to the other Haymarket branch which was situated upstairs somewhere on Dixon Street. From the reviews it looked like most of the food was the same at all Red Chilli Group branches. Although it was a Saturday night, it wasn't too packed though still fairly noisy at times.

When your restaurant has the word 'chilli' in it's name, you know what to expect. However if you cannot handle spicy food at all, there is a guide in the menu that shows which dishes are spicier by the number of chillies next to the menu item. 

All the dishes we had were shared mainly due to huge portions of most plates. The guys were keen for the lamb with onions and cumin spice. The meat was succulent that I ended up being quite greedy and trying to grab every lamb piece for myself (and yes I love the taste of lamb). It also came with assorted veggies, cashew nuts and capsicum stir fried together along with dried chilli pieces, which added a generous amount of hotness to the dish.

Lamb with Onion and Cumin Spice ($22.30)

The prices were quite intriguing. While it looked small in the menu photo and the price was much cheaper, the portion was generous and great to share with a few friends. The noodles were slippery and spicy with the amount of chilli contained in the soup. The minced pork and cabbage on top of the noodles was my favourite part of the dish for the extra texture and meatiness when the chilli oil takes over.

Spicy Dan Dan Noodle ($6.80)

I had not tried anything with duck egg yolk before but the guys were keen on trying it. Upon seeing them coughing when they tried a piece, I was initially hesitant to try one myself however it had no effect on me. Actually I thought that it was incredibly tasty with the sticky, crispy and crumbled duck egg yolk. So addictive that I wanted to try more from this dish. The pricing was confusing since the portion was smaller than the previous dish but the price was much higher in contrast. 

Stir fried prawns with duck egg yolk ($20.80)

If the many chilli dishes scare you to bits then fear not. With the huge amount of chilli dishes that we had devoured, these mild dumplings were actually much needed to sooth our tongues. I actually had not tried boiled dumplings before but was delighted at the slightly thick, cooked dumpling skin with the hot broth inside. We still made good use of the soy sauce and vinegar for the added flavour but perfect to have if you don't like any spicy dishes. Certainly a surprise hit for the table.

Boiled Dumplings with Cabbage and Pork ($9.90)

Another relatively mild dish that we dug in was the salt and pepper squid. Thanks to its lightly crispy batter, these were popular at our table. While it was scattered with sliced capsicum, it was still fairly mild in comparison to other dishes. At $26.60, we thought it was a tad pricier compared to some other dishes with larger portions and lower prices. 

Salt and Pepper Squid ($26.60)

Recently, I returned again for another visit after seeing the amount of other dishes that I wanted to try from the menu. Been a fan of bean noodles since starting my diet earlier this year thanks to my parents' dinner suggestions.Red Chilli Sichuan's version was served cold and incredibly slippery. So slippery that sour and spicy (chilli oil) sauce was splashing every across the table including my phone screen. While the bean jelly noodles were soft and served cold, the peanuts gave it a decent crunch which was also a relief once the spiciness hits you. Again, the serving was more generous than I expected so will recommend this as a shared dish. 

Sichuan Bean Jelly with Sour and Spicy Sauce ($8.80)

The generous serving also applies to the below dish. I was so addicted to the egg yolk batter from the prawns that it got me curious enough to try the stir fried corn with salted egg yolk dish...even if though it is not doing your weight loss any favours. Still, I adored the crumbly and sticky batter that  rubs onto your tongue.

Stir-fried Corn with Salted Egg Yolk ($16.80)

After loving the boiled dumplings on our previous visit, I was compelled to attempt the sweet and spicy version. The serving size was smaller than the non-spicy version but packed with tons of flavour including from the chilli oil to the sweet sesame sauce. The dumpling skin was firm, silky, thin and packed with pork inside - reminded me of a won ton dumpling actually.

Boiled Dumplings with Sweet and Spicy Sauce ($7.80)

While the food was nice and unique to what I usually had, the service could have been better. For a restaurant in the Chinatown/Haymarket area this was expected however at one point, we also ordered rice but it did not showed up at our table yet we still got charged for it. Thankfully this was fixed as we were full as well. Also, there were a few staff members who thought that I was Chinese. The communication barrier is pretty evident here since my friends communicated their orders in Chinese and there were a few wait staff who didn't understand me when I made my order. Despite that, we enjoyed the food even though the prices were leaning towards the expensive side on some dishes. Since most of the dishes were made to share with its large servings, the prices can be reasonable if you are here with a medium-large group of friends if you are keen to try as much as you can. 

Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant
25-29 Harbour Street, Harbour Plaza, Haymarket (also at Dixon Street, Haymarket; Chatswood; Glebe; and Burwood in NSW)
(02) 9211 8130
Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Dear Annie,

    I love Sichuan in small doses coz it is often quite an oily meal. I came here years ago and looks like the place has been upgraded to a more pleasant and comfortable dining room.

  2. That's a lot of dishes! I'm very keen on trying stir fried prawns with duck egg yolk, Hmmm love duck egg yolk. :D

  3. I love a good dish that has duck egg yolk!

  4. Wow that's a hell of a lot of egg yolk on that corn! Sounds like an interesting combination.

  5. ive only been to the burwood one ( now closed i think) and i thought the food was pretty good there, especially the dumplings!

  6. Yum love salted duck egg yolk! The corn dish looks amazing!

  7. mmm~~ prawns with salted duck egg yolk! YUM!!
    and tantan noodles!! im looking for some good ones!! havent found any in Sydney yet :( so shall try this out!
    came here over a year ago, and wasn't very impressed - perhaps it was the food the people i went with ordered... because looking at what you have, it looks so yummy!!!

    - Cassie

    1. which red chilli branch did you end up going to that time? i'm a big fan of anything with salted egg yolk now...so bad but so yummy!