Randomness Guide to London - Differences between Version 19 and Version 1 of Chilli Cool, WC1H 9EW

Version 19 Version 1
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Cheap and cheerful cafe-style Sichuan restaurant in [[Locale Bloomsbury|Bloomsbury]]/[[Locale St Pancras|St Pancras]]. Its Chinese name, Lǎo Chéngdū (老成都), translates as "Old Chengdu".
Cheap and cheerful cafe-style Sichuan restaurant in [[Locale Bloomsbury|Bloomsbury]]/[[Locale St Pancras|St Pancras]]. (Its Chinese name, lao3 cheng2 du1, translates as "Old Chengdu".) It's located in a fairly studenty area and has ambience to match.
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Note: Chilli Cool was refurbished in late 2011, so some of our comments below may be out of date.
[[Kake]], [[Sarah]], [[Ewan]], and friends visited on a Wednesday evening in January 2010. We hadn't booked, but our party of five was seated immediately when we arrived a little before 7:30pm (though the place was full by the time we left, and other reviewers have mentioned having to queue for a table).
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It's located in a fairly studenty area and has ambience to match. One side is dedicated to [[Category Hotpot|Chinese hotpot]], while the other serves a menu of Sichuan food. The furnishings are basic, and the seating in the rearmost of the dining areas is quite cramped (the front rooms are a bit better).
Dry-fried green beans (charmingly translated as "stir-fried before stewing the jack bean dry", &pound;5.20) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4318447170/ photo]</small> arrived very quickly; although some reviewers have complained of saltiness in this dish, we didn't think it was excessive, and the flavour and texture were both good. Dongpo-style braised belly pork (&pound;8.50) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4318455302/ photo]</small> was enjoyed by all; a large chunk of tender, long-cooked pork in a flavourful, slightly sweet gravy. Beef and ox tripe in chilli sauce (a dish known elsewhere as "man and wife lung slices", &pound;5.80) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4317716397/ photo]</small> was a good rendition, with a good texture to both beef and tripe. Ma po tofu (&pound;6.80) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4317717705/ photo]</small> was also a good example of its type.
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[[Kake]] has visited three times now, all in the first half of 2010. We didn't book on any of these occasions, but our party of five was seated immediately when we arrived a little before 7:30pm on a Wednesday, as was our party of two, arriving a little after 7pm on a Tuesday (though both times the place was full by the time we left, and other reviewers have mentioned having to queue for a table). On our Tuesday lunchtime visit, arriving at 12:30pm we were the only customers aside from two others who arrived after us.
Perhaps the most impressive-looking dish of our meal was the sliced fish hotpot (&pound;12.80) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4317720917/ photo]</small>, which arrived covered in a blanket of dried red chillies. This dish is less scary than it initially appears; the chillies are there to provide flavour, rather than to be eaten, and the slices of fish and cubes of tofu buried underneath proved to be perfectly-cooked, with the fish retaining its texture right through to the last slice. (Note that although this wasn't "hotpot" in the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_pot steamboat] sense, they do offer steamboat too.)
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Everything we tried on all three occasions was very good, with the only exceptions being the dan dan noodles (&#25812;&#25812;&#40629;/d&agrave;n d&agrave;n mi&agrave;n) and the fish-fragrant aubergine (&#39770;&#39321;&#33540;&#26781;/y&uacute; xi&#257;ng qi&eacute; ti&aacute;o) &#8212; further details are below.
Minced pork dumplings with chilli oil (&pound;4,80) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4318452102/ photo]</small> were pleasant enough, with their slippery, silky-soft skins and modest size meaning a decent number in the portion. Dan dan noodles (&pound;4.80) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4318451172/ photo]</small> were a little bland, less flavourful than the ones [[Kake]] had a few months back in [[No. 10 Restaurant, SW5 0QT|No. 10]]. Steamed rice (&pound;1.50/portion) was fine, though [[Kake]] wished for slightly bigger portions.
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Crushed cucumber in garlic sauce (&#33948;&#27877;&#40643;&#29916;/su&agrave;n n&iacute; hu&aacute;ng gu&#257;; &pound;5.80 in May 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pugh/4621916514/ photo]</small> was nicely refreshing, and enlivened by its dressing of chilli oil and Sichuan pepper. Beef and ox tripe in chilli sauce (&#22827;&#22971;&#32954;&#29255;/f&#363; q&#299; f&egrave;i pi&agrave;n; &pound;6.90 in January 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4317716397/ photo]</small> (a cold dish) was a good rendition, with a good texture to both beef and tripe.
Service was quick and efficient, though we did have to ask for enough serving spoons. There was no problem bringing us tap water. Bland pop music was playing throughout our visit, though not annoyingly loudly.
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Perhaps the most impressive-looking dish on any of our visits was the fish with fresh chilli and chilli powder sauce (&#40635;&#36771;&#20919;&#37707;&#39770;/m&aacute; l&agrave; l&#283;ng gu&#333; y&uacute;; &pound;15.80 in January 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4317720917/ photo]</small>, which arrived covered in a blanket of dried red chillies. This dish is less scary than it initially appears; the chillies are there to provide flavour, rather than to be eaten, and the slices of fish and cubes of tofu buried underneath proved to be perfectly-cooked, with the fish retaining its texture right through to the last slice.
Accessibility: No step to get in (just a ridge), but half of the seating is down three steps at the back, and the toilets (which were lacking both loo roll and a working handdryer on our visit) are down a narrow, sharply-bending, low-ceilinged staircase.
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Dongpo-style braised belly pork (&#26481;&#27874;&#32905;/d&#333;ng p&#333; r&ograve;u; &pound;8.80 in January 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4318455302/ photo]</small> comprised a large chunk of tender, long-cooked pork in a flavourful, slightly sweet gravy. Quick-fried chicken with cumin and chilli (&#39108;&#39321;&#36771;&#23376;&#38622;/pi&#257;o xi&#257;ng l&agrave; zi j&#299;; &pound;8.80 in June 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4689073244/ photo]</small> was deftly done, not too greasy, and with plenty of flavour. Hot and chilli crispy pork intestine (&#39321;&#36771;&#35948;&#33030;&#33144;/xi&#257;ng l&agrave; zh&#363; cu&igrave; ch&aacute;ng; &pound;8.80 in May 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pugh/4621346935/ photo]</small> was not entirely to [[Kake]]'s taste, though [[bob]] thought it was pretty good (if less good once it got cold).

Tea tree mushrooms with cured meat (&#33590;&#27193;&#33735;&#28818;&#33240;&#32905;/ch&aacute; sh&ugrave; g&#363; ch&#462;o l&agrave; r&ograve;u; &pound;8.80 in May 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pugh/4621872166/ photo]</small> were pleasantly chewy, and permeated with the flavour of the nicely fatty and rather bacon-like Chinese ham. Ma po tofu (&#40635;&#23110;&#35910;&#33104;/m&aacute; p&oacute; d&ograve;u fu; &pound;6.80) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4317717705/ photo]</small> was a good example of its type.

Vermicelli with minced pork, aka "ants climbing a tree" (&#34718;&#34811;&#19978;&#27193;/m&#462; y&#464; sh&agrave;ng sh&ugrave;; &pound;6.80 in June 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4688441929/ photo]</small> was fine, with plenty of Sichuan pepper flavour. Fish-fragrant aubergine (&#39770;&#39321;&#33540;&#26781;/y&uacute; xi&#257;ng qi&eacute; ti&aacute;o; &pound;6.80 in June 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4688444417/ photo]</small> was a little too sweet, and lacking sufficient chilli heat.

Dry-fried green beans with minced pork (&#24178;&#29048;&#22235;&#23395;&#35910;/g&#257;n bi&#257;n s&igrave; j&igrave; d&ograve;u; &pound;6.80 in January 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4318447170/ photo]</small> were among the best [[Kake]] has tried; although some reviewers have complained of saltiness in this dish, we didn't think it was excessive, and the flavour and texture were both good. Mixed vegetables in white soup (&#32793;&#32793;&#33756;/p&aacute; p&aacute; c&agrave;i; &pound;6.80 in May 2010) was a stew of carrots, daikon, and Chinese leaf in a thin stock with a dish of spicy oil on the side to mix in to taste <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pugh/4621366165/ photo without spices]</small>, <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pugh/4621383887/ photo with spices</small>]. This was really quite pleasant, though vegetable-loving [[Kake]] perhaps enjoyed it more than meat-loving [[bob]].

Dan dan noodles (&#25812;&#25812;&#40629;/d&agrave;n d&agrave;n mi&agrave;n; &pound;5.80 in May 2010) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4318451172/ photo]</small> were a little bland, and less flavourful than the ones [[Kake]] and [[bob]] tried a few months previously in [[No. 10 Restaurant, SW5 0QT|No. 10]]). Minced pork dumplings with chilli oil (&#32005;&#27833;&#27700;&#39171;/h&oacute;ng y&oacute;u sh&#468;i ji&#462;o; &pound;5.80) <small>[http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/4318452102/ photo]</small> were pleasant enough, with their slippery, silky-soft skins and modest size meaning a decent number in the portion. Steamed rice (&pound;1.50/portion) was fine, though the five-person portion ordered in January 2010 was somewhat stingy for the number of people it was meant to serve, while the one-person portion ordered in May 2010 was huge.

As of June 2010, the entire menu is translated into English (the old one had a single Chinese-only page) &#8212; see [http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pugh/sets/72157623970318437/ Kake's Flickrset] for photos. As well as a la carte, they also do [[Category Hotpot|hotpot/steamboat]], though we haven't tried this yet.

On our first visit, we ended up paying &pound;20/head for ample food and wine, including the auto-added 10% service charge. Our second visit was more expensive, since there were only two of us and so to get a good spread of dishes we ended up over-ordering. Our third visit, for lunch, worked out cheaper as we skipped the wine; &pound;12/head this time. Service on all our visits was a slightly frustrating combination of quick/efficient and forgetful. Our orders were taken and delivered very swiftly, but they forgot to bring us tap water on the first two visits, and took forever to fill our teapot on the third despite being reminded (and they weren't busy; only two other customers). Trying to pay the bill on the second visit was also a more protracted task than it should have been.

[[Kake]]'s verdict: It's kind of cheap-and-cheerful, the seats in the back room can be a bit uncomfortable, and the stairs down to the loo are kind of dangerous at times &#8212; but the food is good and I'm very likely to come back.

Accessibility: No step to get in (just a ridge), but half of the seating is down three steps at the back, and the toilets (which were lacking both loo roll and a working hand-dryer on both our visits) are down a narrow, sharply-bending, low-ceilinged staircase which is sometimes slippery with oil.

== Line 35 ==
* [http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/134846-chilli-cool/ eGullet thread]
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* [http://daggersduck.blogspot.com/2008/07/ads-eats-review-of-chilli-cool-london.html Ad's Rants review]
* [http://www.londonchow.com/2010/04/chilli-cool-review-london-sichuan-food.html London Chow review]
* [http://essexeating.blogspot.com/2010/05/chilli-cool-london.html Essex Eating review]
* [http://www.thegrubworm.com/2010/05/chilli-cool/ The Grubworm review]
* [http://greedydiva.blogspot.com/2010/07/chilli-cool-kings-cross.html Greedy Diva review]
* [http://www.pigpigscorner.com/2010/07/bring-on-heatchilli-cool.html Wild Boar review]
* [http://ilivetoeatandeattolive.blogspot.com/2011/08/alls-cool-chilli-cool.html Live To Eat review]
* [https://myannoyingopinions.com/2017/06/20/chilli-cool/ My Annoying Opinions
review]
* [http://daggersdukc.blogspot.com/2008/07/ads-eats-review-of-chilli-cool-london.html Ad's Rants review]
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<div class="last_verified">Last visited by [[Kake]], [[Ewan]], and Marna, June 2010. Opening hours taken from the Chilli Cool website, March 2017.</div>
<div class="last_verified">Last visited by [[Kake]], [[Sarah]], [[Ewan]], and friends, 27 January 2010. Opening hours taken from the Chilli Cool website, February 2010.</div>
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category='Chinese Food,Featured Article,Hotpot,Needs New Photo,Restaurants,Sichuan Food'
edit_type='Minor tidying'
category='Chinese Food,Restaurants,Sichuan Food'
edit_type='Normal edit'
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formatted_website_text='co.uk/" class="external">chillicool.co.uk'
host='81.187.166.218'
hours_text='Mon-Sun: 11am-10pm'
formatted_website_text='www.chillicool.com/">http://www.chillicoo...'
host='213.165.225.132'
hours_text='noon-10:30pm Mon-Sun'
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major_change='0'
major_change='1'
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node_image='https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8074/8268816763_62d0385b16_m_d.jpg'
node_image_copyright='bob'
node_image_licence='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by
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node_image_url='https
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opening_hours_text='
Mon-Sun: 11am-10pm'
opening_hours_text='noon-10:30pm Mon-Sun'
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website='http://www.chillicool.com/' website='http://chillicool.co.uk/' website='http://www.chillicool.com/' website='http://chillicool.co.uk/'

Cheap and cheerful cafe-style Sichuan restaurant in Bloomsbury/St Pancras. (Its Chinese name, lao3 cheng2 du1, translates as "Old Chengdu".) It's located in a fairly studenty area and has ambience to match.

Kake, Sarah, Ewan, and friends visited on a Wednesday evening in January 2010. We hadn't booked, but our party of five was seated immediately when we arrived a little before 7:30pm (though the place was full by the time we left, and other reviewers have mentioned having to queue for a table).

Dry-fried green beans (charmingly translated as "stir-fried before stewing the jack bean dry", £5.20) photo arrived very quickly; although some reviewers have complained of saltiness in this dish, we didn't think it was excessive, and the flavour and texture were both good. Dongpo-style braised belly pork (£8.50) photo was enjoyed by all; a large chunk of tender, long-cooked pork in a flavourful, slightly sweet gravy. Beef and ox tripe in chilli sauce (a dish known elsewhere as "man and wife lung slices", £5.80) photo was a good rendition, with a good texture to both beef and tripe. Ma po tofu (£6.80) photo was also a good example of its type.

Perhaps the most impressive-looking dish of our meal was the sliced fish hotpot (£12.80) photo, which arrived covered in a blanket of dried red chillies. This dish is less scary than it initially appears; the chillies are there to provide flavour, rather than to be eaten, and the slices of fish and cubes of tofu buried underneath proved to be perfectly-cooked, with the fish retaining its texture right through to the last slice. (Note that although this wasn't "hotpot" in the steamboat sense, they do offer steamboat too.)

Minced pork dumplings with chilli oil (£4,80) photo were pleasant enough, with their slippery, silky-soft skins and modest size meaning a decent number in the portion. Dan dan noodles (£4.80) photo were a little bland, less flavourful than the ones Kake had a few months back in No. 10. Steamed rice (£1.50/portion) was fine, though Kake wished for slightly bigger portions.

Service was quick and efficient, though we did have to ask for enough serving spoons. There was no problem bringing us tap water. Bland pop music was playing throughout our visit, though not annoyingly loudly.

Accessibility: No step to get in (just a ridge), but half of the seating is down three steps at the back, and the toilets (which were lacking both loo roll and a working handdryer on our visit) are down a narrow, sharply-bending, low-ceilinged staircase.

See also:

Last visited by Kake, Sarah, Ewan, and friends, 27 January 2010. Opening hours taken from the Chilli Cool website, February 2010.

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