So I don't know what possessed me to want to try Dainty Sichuan (probably tummyrumbles' reviews) and amazingly enough, I went on my own free will, there was no screaming/kicking/dragging. I do NOT know what I was thinking and I also have no idea what was in store for me.
Dainty Sichuan was as usual bustling to the brim; we made a reservation because the first time we were there, we waited for 30 minutes and gave up. The reservation didn't do us a lot of good - just meant that we could jump queue. Luckily, a table finished a mere 2 minutes after we were waiting, score!
No, I am not THAT bad of a photographer, I blurred people on purpose. In case someone popped up and sue me for "wrongful use of image". Hah.
We started off with helping ourselves to drinks, in anticipation. I chose the sweet milk tea because the bottle was pretty.
The Mouth-Watering Chicken was the first dish to appear, cos it was a cold dish.
Smaller than we expected, it looked fire-hot! With chilli oil and flakes of dried chilli, I think I was like WAAAAH (in fear and tears) when I looked at it. Rice arrived and we tucked in, albeit tentatively for me. On first bite? It wasn't as spicy as expected and I was sort of surprised. Finding it yummy - flavours of salt and chilli went together nicely - I devoured the first piece and took a second one - and in the midst of chewing my second piece of chicken, I felt the spicy-ness settling in, burning on the tip of my tongue. Uh-oh. Cue swallowing my milk tea and a mouthful of rice plus a stick of newly arrived Garlic Cucumber.
The garlic cucumber was fantastic to me. I just really really like it, they had seasoned the garlic in salt so that the smell of garlic wasn't overpowering, but still maintaining a satisfying garlicky taste with the cucumbers. Yum! The cucumbers also served as a cooling balance to other hot dishes.
The Chongqing Chicken was up next.
Served fried with a HUGE-ASS dish of dried/fresh/refried (yes, REFRIED - we found crab claws in our chicken dish - proving that they recycled leftover chillies) chillies, it looked sort of terrifying. The chicken were small, boned pieces and we had to dig through the mountain of chillies to find it. Hah. Turtle and Alf wasn't very happy with this dish as they felt that was way too little amount of chicken, but MM sis certainly was a huge fan. She really liked the chicken and meticulously picked her way through chillies for the chicken. San seemed to like it as well. As for me? My first piece had me choking and gasping and swallowing massive amounts of milk tea because I think a chilli seed got into my throat and stuck itself there. Talk about torture. That aside, I find the chicken rather good. It was superbly spicy - there was a sort of WHOOOSH feeling to it when I ate it, but it settled down (just a little) after a while. A pity that it was boned with little pieces of bone - much better if they are boneless chicken pieces.
Next up was the Spicy Crab.
Looks good, eh? The crab was a little less spicy than the chicken, however, it was a mess trying to eat it. Alf eventually crunched his way through his pieces of crab, shell and all. I did the same thing after a while and hey, the shell (especially the leg part) wasn't so tough. It was rather nice and crunchy. The crab was tasty although after a while, I found it to be too salty, as with Sis MM. Definitely VERY salty. I really had to have it with rice, otherwise, the salt was too much. That aside, the crab dish was good, Alf and Turtle's favourite.
Throughout the meal, I just kept eating cucumbers, even ordering another dish (and another bottle of milk tea eventually, that is how much I sucked). The cucumbers really helped to cool the fire in my mouth. No wonder people said "as cool as a cucumber". I was no where near that cool, though. Burning hot, more like. Hence the inhaling of milk tea and cucumbers.
To be honest, although I find the food to be good (just good, not very or extremely good), I won't go back there. Not in near future, anyway. One, I just can't take the spicy-ness, it was too much. Up to the point I had stomach discomfort throughout the night. Two, they recycled the chillies!! We can obviously tell, even before finding the crab claw in the Chongqing chicken. I don't care what the norm is, I find that gross, sorry.
But if you're a huge fan of chillies and spice, or that you want to challenge your hot/spicy tolerance, or that you just like to torture your tongue (and yourself) for fun - give this place a go. Its famous name for spicy-ness is certainly justified well enough.
And oh, the total bill came to roughly AUD$102 for 4 dishes and 6 drinks.
26 Corrs Lane
Phone: (03) 9663 8861