Following on from the success of BaoziInn Romilly Street’s colourful dim sum, sublime soup dumplings and dan dan noodles, the team has ramped up the main course section to bring a selection of spicy and dynamic Sichuan and Hunan style dishes, all with an interesting backstory.

mcith_baozin.jpgSteamed aubergine with fish fragrant sauce or”yuxiang’ is said in Chinese folklore to originate many years ago from a family who used their leftover fish sauce (the basis of which is green onion, ginger, garlic, soy, vinegar and wine) for an aubergine dish and were pleasantly surprised. The yuxiang sauce has since been refined and is a common component in Sichuan cooking.

Somewhat less appealingly, the legendary Pockmark “Mapo” bean curd (either with vegetables or with minced pork) is so called because it was invented in 1862 in a small restaurant in Chengdu, run by a couple named Chen.

Famous for her superior technique of cooking tofu, Mrs. Chen was also unfortunately known for her pockmarked face, and thus the phrase “Mapo tofu” (“ma” meaning pock and “po” meaning elderly woman) was coined, and it is now a Chinese food staple.

Steamed prawns with chopped salted red chilli, meanwhile, is typical of the Hunan style of cooking – a unique combination of spicy and sour tastes with chillies, like the vinegar used to pickle them, associated with the warming and cooling properties of’yin’ and’yang’. Silky glass noodles add a satisfying texture and perfectly balance the dish.

Finally, the BaoziInn Special, Hot and numbing sea bass fillets with Chinese mushroom features bold and pungent flavours, brought on by the liberal use of garlic, chilli peppers and Sichuan pepper. Head Chef Francis Law has added his own Cantonese-inspired touch by putting dry shrimp into the sauce to further enhance the rich umami flavour.

These new additions are reasonably priced between £11.90 and £16.90 and are available at both lunch and dinner.