Sunday, 24 November 2013

Gourmet San - Bethnal Green

Everyone knows the scene. It's The Deer Hunter and De Niro and Walken play Russian roulette, sat at a table in a small dark room, surrounded by Vietnamese gamblers and hustlers. Pistols, bullets, and red bandanas at the ready. The private room upstairs at Gourmet San had a similar air. It was empty, save for two flies circling the lightbulb, but it was definitely a room ready for something suspect, and if not roulette then storage for an ill-gotten whale or some unfortunates bedroom. The duvet sticking out of a locked cupboard strongly suggested the latter.

This is a classic Chinese restaurant. From the outside there is no indication of the level of quality within - you could find that hideous sweet 'n' sour gloop coating every mouthful or the greatest damn pork hoc this side of Oxford. Luckily, as the name suggests, Gourmet San was gourmet. Ignore the flies, the duvet, and the grit on the floor, and avoid playing roulette with the menu, which included such memorable dishes as duck's tongue with chilli oil, spicy mix of lamb sinew, dry fried pork intestines, and cucumber with jellyfish. Oh, and if you're vegetarian, be careful - our green beans came with pork. Instead of these traditional delicacies, we went for the slightly safer options. Lamb skewers with fennel seeds, squid rings, rubbery rubbery squid flaps (one to avoid), various pork with chillies, and beef fillet with hot pepper. Plates and plates of delicious food, sticks and sticks of sweet skewers, enough to feed ten people, plus beer, and we paid the outrageous price of £20 each, including tip.

I wouldn't advise heading here with any fewer than four people, but if you do, leave the belt and bandana at home.

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