Restaurant review: Bashu Garden takes the heat out of Sichuan cuisine
Bashu Garden delivers toned-down Sichuan cuisine in a friendly, cosy setting
I kept passing Bashu Garden in taxis on my way home to Pok Fu Lam, and the restaurant looked so cute and inviting that I just had to try it. It's a nice, neighbourhood-type place, decorated with carved wooden chairs, red and yellow lanterns and retro-looking Chinese knick-knacks, and the staff were friendly and welcoming.
The menu is brief, and we liked that they stuck quite strictly to Sichuan dishes (although there were a couple that seemed more Hunan). The dishes weren't overwhelmingly spicy — the staff admitted that they toned the food down to suit Hongkongers' tastes, but the flavours were hot enough, yet balanced. Be warned that the portion sizes are large — we ended up ordering too much.
Chongqing mala chicken casserole (HK$168) had a nice mix of hot and numbing spices with whole garlic cloves. We had to dig through the large, dried chillies to find the roughly chopped chicken pieces. Fish in mala chilli broth was listed as HK$238, but we chose the HK$298 mandarin fish recommended by the waitress. It was an enormous bowl filled with chilli water, fen pei (mung bean sheets), bean sprouts and bone-in pieces of the smooth-textured fish. The Sichuan chilli pork offal (HK$98), with a sauce flavoured with garlic, dried chillies and fresh coriander, is a treat for innards-lovers, with thin, tender slices of tongue, shin and tripe. Our favourite dish of the night was the Sichuan crispy smoked duck (HK$160 for half). It's the best version that I've had in Hong Kong — served warm, the duck was juicy, with perfectly balanced smokiness. Celtuce with garlic dressing (HK$68) was spicy, crunchy and refreshing. Stir-fried sweet potato leaves (HK$68) were slightly overcooked, but the vegetable calmed the palate.
Bashu Garden Sichuanese Cuisine, 113 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, tel: 2548 4654. About HK$250 without drinks or the service charge