Red Chilli made me sneeze

Red Chilli, I’ve been told by many, is one of the best restaurants in Manchester. And this is by people who’ve actually been to London (unlike my provincial self).

And since I started going about a month ago, it’s now my favourite restaurant in Manchester too. Actually I’d like it better if it wasn’t a chain, but that’s food snobbery for you.

And I didn’t even let my first terrible experience put me off.

I knew it was going to be spicy but I didn’t really consider how spicy it would be. SO I merrily ordered the mixed meat and seafood clay pot and happily drunk my house sauvignon blanc (which is not bad for a ‘housey’).

But it was spicy. Not just oh-my-tongue-is-tingling spicy. More like, oh-my-brain-is-going-to-explode spicy. All I did was dip my chopstick into the evil chilli dish, bubbling away like a witch’s cauldron, and my head actually exploded. This tiny dib-dab of liquid gave me a sneezing fit so bad I had to run to the toilets. And I like spicy food!

Anyway it made the husband’s night, I think he’s still laughing now. So first visit: Red Chilli 1 – Manchester Is Ace: 0.

But that didn’t put me off one bit. I was up for the match.

So we went there again last weekend. The husband was late because he was soundchecking and I so nearly ordered him the shredded jellyfish to punish him, but I’m just not that mean.

The fillet steak rolls (£5.50) were a win last time, and were just as good second time around, with black pepper sauce. Thick braised fillet steak is somehow encapsulated in a roll format and slathered in either a Cantonese, black pepper or sweet spicy sauce. I could probably eat these every day for the rest of my life.

The menu tells me that cold starters are popular in Sichuan (which this restaurant specialises in) so I gave the Poached salty duck (£4) a whirl. Next time we’re getting braver and are definitely getting in the Husband and wife’s lungs. Still not ready for the shredded jellyfish though. Unless it was the bastard one that scarred me for life in Sicily last year.

The Beijing dumplings (£4.50) are a traditional dish for celebrations, so we also ordered these because we were celebrating going to Red Chilli again. They were good, with bits of pork in I think, but not worthy of daydreaming over. You actually get more than this, but I started eating before I remembered to take a photo.

After my debacle with the clay pot, I only ordered one main course in a tactical move. How could I lose if I didn’t order my own main dish? Our lamb dish isn’t on the downloadable menu, but was a stir fry number with spring onions (around £7.50). It was tasty covered in a rich Cantonese-style but delicate sauce with no sign of the gloopiness that puts me right of British-style Chinese food.

Anyway there wasn’t one scrap of food left this time so:
Red Chilli 0 – Manchester Is Ace 1.

Red Chilli is in Chinatown on Portland Street, and is a cosy, but fairly contemporary, basement space. There is another branch on Oxford Road but I’ve not been there yet. The selection of starters really make it for me and I could eat them all night long. It’s good to find somewhere that gives the tastebuds such as slap that you’re still thinking about how tasty it was days later.

You can also read reviews by the High Priests of food reviewing, Matthew Norman and Jay Rayner here.

Red Chilli, 70-72 Portland Street, Manchester, M1 4GU
T: 0161 236 2888

One comment

  • August 26, 2010 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Ah you’ve got me hungry now. That chinese food looks yummy.

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