Yes I am back from my holidays, and the first restaurant that I went to was Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant in Chinatown. This is the second time I have been. The first time was a long wait as I had not made a booking. There was no decent seat allocation system for bookings or people waiting. The most ironic thing was that we got a call from the waiter standing at front telling us that our table was ready when we had almost finished eating the food. The quality of the food was good despite the average service the first time. That's why we went back.
This restaurant location used to be Cafe primo before. The owners must have spent quite a lot of money on the decor. There was traditional furniture, and all their plates and bowls had the name of the restaurant on them. The high ceilings, the hanging lanterns and an open dining area is very elegant. The menu itself was quite impressive, it was thick and full of colourful pictures.
Every restaurant does hot and sour soup differently, and there's no surprise about this restaurant either. It was a little watery for my liking.
Sichuan food has a lot of chilli in it, so you can imagine almost every dish would have chill. We ordered the jelly fish, normally they are like noodles. However these ones are nice and chunky.
We also ordered the fungus, a type of mushroom which has multiple health benefits. They were cooked in garlic and sprinkled with chilli, served cold.
Tofu in chilli arrived and it was completely soaked in chilli oil and chilli paste on top, again it was served cold. The thing about having chilli food is that after the first few bites you kind of lose your taste because the chilli has numbed your taste buds.
Shredded pork in a peking sauce was served with 6 pancakes on the side. It was definitely not an appealing dish and certainly didn't resemble the one on the menu. The pork was way too sweet.
Now I had to take a picture of this dish from the menu. Twice we went, twice they said it was unavailable. This was just one item on the menu that was not available on the night, there were several others when we went to order, we were informed by the waitress that they were not available. One other issue I had was that the waiters and waitresses spoke little or very limited english which made it very difficult to understand.
We ordered the salted duck instead. The size of this dish was quite small compared to others. There was nothing special about this dish, and yes once again served cold.
We had asked for everything to have no spring onions in it as one of the member in our group was allergic to spring onions. I repeated this to the waitress who took our order, and every dish came out with spring onions. We told the waitress again and she said she would inform the kitchen, and the second time once again had spring onions in them. For the third time the king prawns with rice vermicelli arrived in a hot pot, the prawns were gigantic, however the vermicelli were way too soggy and the whole dish was extra sweet, prawns were overcooked. We found spring onions in the bottom of the pot. It almost seemed like they picked out the spring onions and put everything back in the dish.
If you like the smell of cumin, then cumin lamb cutlets maybe for you.
We had to send the Chinese broccoli the third time back because there was spring onions in it. The third time we didn't eat it, we even spoke to the manager and he said to send it back, but I think they were being very dishonest, rather than making a new dish for us, they picked out the spring onions and plated it all up again. We still found spring onions in the dish at the end. We had to leave that dish.
The fish in chilli and oil, one was the chef's special with the hot chilli and sichuan peppercorn on top. They remove the chilli for you when it arrives at the table. The other one was fish fillet in chilli oil, between the two I do prefer the first one.
The first time we went, we did like the food. The quality was there but the service was so so. Staff barely spoke english apart from one girl. The second time we went back, we found the staff were rude. The kitchen staff were dishonest and have totally no understanding of the implication or the consequences of food allergies. We mentioned this to the staff a few times and they said they will make sure that there would be no spring onions in any of the dishes, and again and again the dishes arrive and took even longer. We managed to find spring onions in them. Anyone could tell that the dish wasn't remade, but just had spring onions picked out and plated up again.
One of the waiters gave us 10% off the total bill but still charged us the plate of Chinese broccoli which we didn't even touch. Clearly it was the kitchen's fault by replating the broccoli when we have emphasised that one of us was allergic to spring onions, and at the time he said he understood and told the kitchen.
No matter how good your food is, if your staff don't speak english, you won't understand the customers needs. Customer service is king. Sad to say, I will not be coming back to this restaurant in a hurry.
Visit Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant - 86 Grote Street, Adelaide SA 5000 - (08) 8231 9661