Can you think of a name less appropriate for a Sichuan restaurant? Punch in the Mouth, or Kick in the Nuts Sichuan might be more apt for this South Yarra treasure, where the chilli is hot and the Sichuan pepper is tinglingly, numbingly fresh. And while none of the food is what you’d call dainty, it’s certainly way up there with the best Sichuan we’ve ever had the pleasure of burning our mouths on. It’s cheap, too.
Head upstairs for a hotpot or stay in the sunny downstairs dining room for thin slices of pancetta-like Chinese-style cured pork belly then move onto crisp-fried fingers of fish-fragrant eggplant doused in so much chilli that merely breathing near it is painful. And just to triple your burning pleasure, order thin slices of lamb encrusted in cumin and laced with chilli.
Dainty Sichuan’s light, fluffy house-made pork buns are a must, filled with pieces of sweet, fragrant pork that are slightly dried and cured covered in sweet gloop.
While the restaurant is cash only, there’s an ATM in the foyer, along with a statue of a very happy fat Chinese guy with his T-shirt up eating a bowl of soup. You’ll want to hop along nice and early if you’re heading here for lunch – the kitchen shuts up for the day at 2pm.