I love Dainty Sichuan. Sure, there were Sichuan restaurants in Melbourne before Dainty, but it was Dainty that made me (and I suspect many other people in Melbourne) become familiar with and fall in love in with the spicy, numbing, and bold flavours of Sichuan.
Every time I go, I always order the Fish Flavoured Eggplant – lightly battered, deep fried eggplant wedges, tossed in a sweet sauce; a favourite of many. Not sure whether it’s very authentic (it’s very different to versions I’ve had in China), but it is definitely very good.
Ditto for the Salty Egg Yolk Covered Corn Kernels. Crunchy, salty, eggy… the perfect TV or drinking snack.
However, what wowed us all the most were the simplest dishes. The best dish of the night was, hands down, the Cabbage and Dried Chilli (top right of the bottom photo, mostly demolished). You might not think it sounds like much, but it punches well above its weight. Seriously, order this dish! The Cucumber in Chilli and Thousand Year Old Egg with Pickles were also delicious.
A word of warning though: the dishes do tend to be quite oily. Especially the Fish Flavoured Eggplant, which is, I reckon, a dish better ordered when you’re eating with a bunch of people as you really cannot eat too many pieces before feeling a bit oiled out. Also, it’s not conducive to doggy-bagging because it ends up being an oily clump the next day.
Oh, there is also no need to be apprehensive about the spice levels at Dainty Sichuan – the vegetarian dishes tend not to be spicy at all. So go and try it out!
Happy times are ahead with the growing number of regional Chinese restaurants popping up around Melbourne… Yunnan, Xinjiang, Shaanxi, here we come!
176 Toorak Road, South Yarra 3141