Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gourmet San

Gourmet San

Gourmet San is the stuff of foodie legend. World class szechuan cuisine? Check. Gritty East London location? Check. Huge portions? Check. Rock bottom prices? Check.

After a disappointing time at Polpo, it was a relief to find that budget food in London can be tasty and great value. Gourmet San is clean and simple, with service swift and as friendly as could be expected with little language in common. But the food, oh the food!

The highlight had to be the heap of crab studded with chillies and szechuan peppercorns. It was a messy business (and seemingly impossible with chopsticks), but the spicy white meat that we chewed, sucked and slurped out of the shells was worth the effort.

Crab in hot spicy sauce

Old Place Sauteed Crab in Hot Spicy Sauce £12

The sauteed shredded beef was a star anise infused delight, generously sized and bursting with tongue-tingling chunks of hot green chilli.

Beef and spinach
Sauteed Shredded Beef Fillet with Hot Pepper £7
Fried Spinach in Garlic Sauce £7 (in background)

Pig tendons (a random choice) were more problematic, although what meat I could detach from the sticky lumps of bone was savoury and gelatinous. Don't attempt these with chopsticks either, especially if you're wearing a white shirt.

Pig tendons
Pig's Tendon with Spicy Salt £7

The vegetarian dishes were also successful. We tried the tofu with chives and bean sprouts, not as spicy as some of the other dishes but very moreish. Spinach was served in the sort of pungent sauce that leaves you still garlicky 48 hours later.

Chives & beansprouts with tofu
Sauteed Hotbed Chives & Bean Sprouts with Dried Tofu £7

Rice never arrived, but to be honest we didn't care and left feeling well fed and looking forward to our next visit. The whole lot came in at £55 for four, including 4 beers and a pot of green tea.

Gourmet San
261 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AH
020 7729 8388
Gourmet San on Urbanspoon


shayma said...

really lovely photography.

Lizzie said...

Dribble! It looks delicious. I've only had beef tendon before, which I love, so I must try this. East London though... sigh.

alexthepink said...

Thanks guys! The benefits of being brave and taking my big camera along. It was so yummy, just wished I could have tried more of the huge menu.

Patrick said...

Can you book in advance or is it just walk-ins?

Kavey said...

Looks fabulous!
Thanks for great review!

alexthepink said...

Thanks Kavey - it was! I'm definitely up for a revisit if anyone's interested...

Patrick, yes you can and I'd recommend it. We were there on a Monday night and it was full.

BrightonSuz said...

I've been meaning to try this place, now you've convinced me. Looks gorgeous, love the photography as well.