Chilli Fagara G/F 24-53 Graham Street, Central Tel: 2893 3330 Chilli Fagara has taken over from the original Shui Hu Ju, which was so popular its owners opened a second one on Peel Street, plus Water Margin in Times Square and Hutong in Tsim Sha Tsui. The new restaurant looks similar, with retro decor, stylish touches and small dark-wood tables, but Shui Hu Ju was always fully booked, whereas we were the only customers on a recent weekday evening. Sichuan cuisine is varied and complex, but most people think of it only as being spicy (from dried chillies) and tongue-numbing (from the tiny, powerful peppercorns). Chilli Fagara's attractive black and red brocade menu lists dishes in categories of numbing, spicy and those that are neither, but the division is blurred at times. The main problem with our meal was that the dishes were served in the wrong order: the spiciest dish came first, desensitising our taste buds for any subtleties that followed. The meal started well, with three unordered snacks (for which we were charged $30): what the waiter described as Sichuan bean curd, but which taste- and texture-wise more resembled dense, slippery mushrooms; shredded chicken in a spicy, nutty sauce; and (oddly) whole small tomatoes. We were then served a huge plate of sliced fish in chilli oil ($138). Swimming in the soupy sauce were chunks of fish, dried chillies, crunchy bean sprouts and spring onions. It was too one-dimensional: the chilli should have been balanced by more salt and a bit of sugar. And we did something we rarely do at Chinese restaurants: asked for soy sauce. The heat of this dish was soothed only slightly by the 'king's vegetable' ($98) - long, spinach-like strands served in broth. Because our tongues were tingling from the fish dish, we couldn't taste the subtleties of the tea fragrance spicy pork in bamboo net ($118). Although the pork was succulent and tender, it seemed neither spicy nor fragrant. Pan-fried dumplings ($38) were juicy. But, as with the fish, they needed more salt. The chicken in Sichuan sauce ($68) was relatively tame and well-balanced. The lettuce wraps ($88) were minced pork with crunchy vegetables served with large iceberg lettuce leaves. The cooling, crunchy lettuce did a great job of soothing our tongues. Dan dan mien ($48) was a fairly large portion of thick noodles in a soupy, nutty sauce. A meal for three, with two flower teas ($30 each) and mineral water ($20) was $776.