Ba Shan

24 Romilly Street
London W1D 5AH
0207 287 3266 / 0207 434 2234

We’ve been to Bar Shu, the sister restaurant of Ba Shan, and we loved it so much that we were very eager to go to try our Ba Shan as well. While Bar Shu serves Sichuan food (spicy and numbing), Ba Shan serves Hunan food, which is spicy and with much fewer of those pesky numbing seeds. We went with D for dinner one day, and we loved it just as much as we loved Bar Shu.

We started off with some drinks as we did in Bar Shu – lovely summery drinks with Mango, Lychee and Jasmine, one for the each of us. The mango and lychee were definitely better than the jasmine, which tasted like a concoction of chemicals rather than of jasmine.

First up, we had three items from their street foods section – flat bread with pork belly, a little stingy on the meat, but extremely tasty nevertheless. The steamed dumplings were also fantastic. The skin wasn’t thin like xiaolongbao, but it was springy and fresh, and the filling was very well seasoned. Some of the dumplings had a little soup in them like xiaolongbao, and we were very impressed that such a simple steamed dumpling could give us so much flavor.

The final street food we had was the pot stickers – guo tie. This was yet another very successful dish. The filling was once again very well marinated, and the crust was so crispy and light it would have been deserving of a Michelin star. Overall we were more than impressed with their street food, and we eagerly waited for the other dishes to arrive.

Ma Po Tofu was next. Once again, this dish was packed full of flavor. There were some numbing seeds in there, but since this was a Hunan inspired restaurant those seeds were used far more subtly than in Bar Shu. And it worked. This was ma po tofu done in a very different style from the other Cantonese restaurants just across the road in Chinatown – far tastier, and with surprising flavors with each bite.

K and D couldn’t resist the urge, and ordered a dish of beef innards. Unlike the equivalent dish in Bar Shu, this dish was served hot, and was also very tasty. The bits of beansprout and mushroom underneath the tripe and whatnots provided a nice cleansing contrast to the oily sauce it was swimming in.

The star of the meal was the steamed sea bass. This came in a massive plate – almost the size of one of their tables, and we ordered 2 portions of noodles (on top of the one that came with the dish) to eat it with. The noodles were excellent – fresh and perfect for soaking up that wonderfully spicy sauce that the fish came in. This was by far our favourite dish of the whole meal – and mind you, there were many good dishes we had that meal. The fish was steamed to perfection, and there was simply nothing that you could criticize about that dish. It was just mindblowing.

Overall this was one of the best meals in a Chinese restaurant we’ve ever had. Naturally, it comes at a price – Ba Shan, like Bar Shu, isn’t the cheapest most budget-friendly restaurant. However, the food is amazing, and that alone is enough for a repeat visit hopefully in the near future.

Service: 7/10
Food: 8/10

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