Sichuan House Melbourne is, as the name suggests, a restaurant that specialises is Sichuan cuisine. Hidden down a laneway in Chinatown it offers diners the chance to experience authentic Sichuan food. Authentic means hot when it comes to Sichuan food and, while there are enough mild options on the menu for those who can’t handle the heat, the real reward comes from submitting oneself to the chilli.
The space is very simple. The reason it looks completely empty is because we were here at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, with only a few of the tables behind us occupied. By all accounts it’s very popular in the evenings, having built up a dedicated following and big reputation since it opened in 2004.
Food wise, it’s all about authentic Sichuan food. The menu contains a variety of options, with a heat scale for each menu item that ranges from 0 to 3 chillies . There’s a section that contains mild Sichaun food and another section that contains dumplings but let’s be honest – it’s the Sichuan food that’s getting people in here, with the other items catering for the token friend who doesn’t like spicy food. The servings here are huge and the food is definitely designed to share. My wife and I couldn’t finish what we ordered, which could have easily fed 4 people.
Kung Pao Chicken ($21.00)
The Kung Pao chicken is one of the specialities of Sichuan House and it’s not hard to see why. The plate comes out and it’s piled high with chicken, chillies and a whole lot of peanuts. Sichuan peppers are of course also there. In true Sichuan style this dish builds in intensity as each mouthful is consumed. “That’s not that spicy” soon gives way to “pass me something to drink!” as the chillies being to dance their way around your mouth. Despite this I couldn’t stop eating it. Hot, tender, crunchy and very fragrant – it’s the signature dish for a reason.
Fish Flavoured Pork Threads ($19.50)
This is one of my favourite Sichuan dishes. The pork is soft, the heat is not overly intense (relative to other Sichuan dishes) and there’s a good balance between sweet, salty and sour. The pork threads at Sichuan House were very tasty, although not quite as good as the ones that I’ve eaten at Dainty Sichuan, which have more of a gelatinous texture to them. They were, however, better than the ones that I ate at China Chilli.
Pickled Cucumber ($10.00)
The cucumber wasn’t as pickled as I had expected and was spicy, but not overly so. In the context of the meal it was the “refreshing” option, if one can say that about Sichuan food.
I’d heard a lot of good things about Sichuan House and was glad to finally get around to eating here. Dainty Sichuan is still at the top of my list for Sichuan food in Melbourne however I’d have no complaints about eating at Sichaun House again. There were a lot of things on the menu that looked interesting and next time time I’ll make sure I bring a few friends along so that we can order a wider variety of dishes and actually get through the big servings.
22-26 Corrs Lane
Mon – Sun: 11:00am to 3:00pm; 5:00pm to 10:00pm