Red And Hot, NW1 1JD
- 020 7388 0808
- 37 Chalton Street, NW1 1JD
- noon-11pm Mon-Thu; noon-midnight Fri-Sat; noon-11pm Sun
Kake, bob, Sarah, Mr Noodles, and Bellaphon first visited on a Wednesday evening in June 2010. We hadn't booked, but there was no problem finding us a table when we arrived a little after 7pm, as we were the first customers of the evening. Service was very friendly and helpful, with staff happy to take the time to place our dishes in the optimal positions for photography.
Hot and numbing beef (水煮牛肉/shuǐ zhǔ niú ròu; £8.80) photo was good, with tender and well-spiced beef. Fire-exploded kidney flowers (火爆腰花/huǒ bào yāo huā; £7.80) photo managed to avoid the unpleasant smell/taste that kidney can often have. Sichuan-style pig's blood mix (富貴毛血旺; £12.80) photo was interesting and quite tasty, incorporating luncheon meat (which worked quite well — don't be put off by this) along with the congealed blood. However, the pieces of squid also included in the dish were overcooked and rubbery.
Special fried chicken with dry chilli and cumin (飄香辣子雞; £12) photo was very good — tender but not mushy chicken in a crispy coating, not overcooked or greasy at all, and with a good flavour imparted by the dried chillies. Fish soup with pickled vegetables (風味酸湯魚/fēng wèi suān tāng yú; £12.80) photo was also good, with tender fish fillets bathed in a rich and fairly spicy broth. Pea shoots in rich broth (上湯豆苗/shàng tāng dòu miáo; £8.80) photo came garnished with century egg and a couple of peeled prawns. Opinions among our party were divided on this one; some felt the pea shoots were a little undercooked, while others liked them like this.
Dan dan noodles (擔擔麵/dān dān miàn; £5.60) photo were OK, but nowhere near as good as the ones we've had from No. 10 in Earl's Court (bob also tried these on a previous visit before the change of management, and noted that the noodles were really soft, and there was less meat than at No. 10). Zhong's crescent dumplings (鐘餃子/Zhōng jiǎo zi; £4.80 for eight) photo were very good; smooth, silky-skinned dumplings enhanced with a coating of a deeply savoury chilli oil.
On another visit by Kake and Sarah in October 2010, the chicken with chilli sauce starter (成都口水雞/Chéngdū kǒu shuǐ jī; £7.80) photo and the preserved eggs with tender bean curd (pí dàn dòu fu huā; £7) photo were both very good. The chicken was served off the bone, but the flavour didn't suffer from this.
In February 2015, Kake, Sarah, bob, Mr Noodles, and Pete visited for a hotpot session. It was Chinese New Year, and we hadn't been able to book as they were keeping half of the tables for walk-ins; we didn't have to wait for a table as we arrived quite early (6:30pm), but they did ask us to give the table back by 8pm. We weren't asked to choose our hotpot ingredients — it's all-you-can-eat, and they'll bring a selection of things to start and more if you request them (we found the initial selection was plenty).
Kake's verdict: I've been here three times and would happily come back. The obvious comparison to this place would be Chilli Cool, another Sichuan restaurant in the same area — however, despite the similarities in style and competence of cuisine, the ambience in the two places is utterly different, so my mood would dictate which of the two I'd prefer on any given day.
Accessibility: Two steps up to get in. Two steps down to get to the rearmost dining area and to the toilets. The ladies' toilet doubles as an accessible toilet, but in addition to the barrier of the steps, as of June 2010 the toilet chain is high up in a corner and would be hard to reach from a wheelchair.