On Frith Street since 2006, the new dishes at this institution still maintain the fiery heat of Sichuan Province.

New dishes to the Barshu menu include the buckwheat noodles with hand-torn chicken, traditional tofu and spring onions, Pounded aubergines with sesame paste and Salt and pepper soft shell crab.

Larger dishes feature Fish fillet with Sichuan pickles in golden soup, Dry wok frog’s legs, Braised chicken chops with diced taro, Braised pork shank, stir-fried shredded pork with Chinese chives, Stir-fried sliced pork, and Stir-fried beef with ginger and spring onion.

Sides include Braised pork bone and chicken broth with either winter melon, white cabbage or choy sum, Barshu dan dan noodles with minced pork and Stir-fried noodles with pork and Shanghainese style sauce.

The menu is still enormous, and rather confusing, but we managed to tick the boxes on the paper they leave on the table and sat back to see what came first.

And that was ‘Fragrant chicken in a pile of chillies’ and you can’t say that doesn’t sum it up. Pieces of fried chicken buried under and in a pile of dried chillies and Sichuan peppers, it’s a dish that fills up most of our small table. Using chopsticks we poke about for the chicken, being very careful not to eat any of the dried chilli.

The chilli is there to season the meat, not to be eaten, and it does a great job, the chicken is delicious – hot for sure but not deadly, and the Sichuan peppers do their trick of numbing the tongue.

The best bit of this dish is that you can never be entirely sure you’ve found all the chicken, so you rake through again just in case. When you find a bit you missed it’s like finding gold in a river.

We try a new dish, stir-fried shredded pork with Garlic scapes, basically the stems of young garlic. Mild and crunchy they go well with the soft pork. Another new dish, Braised pork bone and chicken broth, is excellent, the depth of flavour reminiscent of the time not so long ago when the food blogger world went beyond mad for bone broths, even rhapsodising over adding extra fat. No doubt those foolish people are now extra fat themselves. Or dead.

The braised pak choi submerged in the broth is a tussle to eat without a knife to break it down, so we splash hot broth in all directions and I get a burnt chin for my trouble.

I soothe this with some deep fried prawns, very good, and a bowl of special fried rice, which is a bit watery so not all that special. We also had some pork ribs which were a bit too sweet for me, but doubtless authentic.

You have to know what you’re doing ordering in Bar Shu, the fish dishes that people were sharing looked fantastic but the people eating them looked Chinese, so they were almost certainly better informed than me.

It’s not cheap Bar Shu, but it is reliably delicious and authentic and the new dishes certainly add even more spice to the menu.


 28 Frith St, London W1D 5LF