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Sichuan House Seafood - Best Sichuan in Melbourne
Sichuan House Seafood is the best Sichuan restaurant in Melbourne. It is also one of the best Chinese restaurants in Melbourne. Set on Victoria Street in Abbotsford (verging on Richmond), it’s a great place to enjoy a meal with friends as it provides a sense of occasion rather than a quick in and out meal. Not only is the food top class but the décor is excellent and there is great skill in the meal presentation.
Of the eight major schools of China’s culinary art, Sichuan cooking is the most popular. This style of cooking originating in the Sichuan Province of Western China centuries ago has gained an international reputation for its flavour and spice. Sichuan House celebrates classic Sichuan cooking including the use of chilli, spices, oils, peppercorns, well known for cooking of fish, pickling, smoking, braising and a host of other techniques.
We enjoyed lunch at Sichuan House seafood on a Sunday afternoon. The food presented was absolutely sensational. The Zhangcha Duck was a highlight with fresh duck smoked with tea leaves and seasoned in a herb sauce. While many Sichuan dishes are spicy, not all are spicy, including the duck.
We understand there is a 10 hour process to preparing this duck meal in the Sichuan tradition. First the duck needs to be marinated. Then the duck is smoked in the oven with tea leaves and wood. Then it is dried a little and the skin made crispy in oil.
We understand this traditional tea smoked duck is not common here in Melbourne. The duck was perfect - not too oily, given that duck is naturally oily. The skin was crispy and the duck cooked perfectly, not too dry. The smoked flavours and tea through the duck were sublime. It is simply the best duck I have eaten in Melbourne.
We also enjoyed cold dishes of pickled vegetables, seaweed, peanuts and spicy chicken – all superb.
An amazing dish was the Seasoned beef shank slices. This involved thin beef strips in a beef tendon film, plated up with great skill. This was so tasty and fabulous with a chilli inspired sauce. What I love about Sichuan House Seafood is that you can bring the children - as they can put the spicy sauce in a separate container. You can control the amount of spice!
The Stewed boneless free range chicken in spicy sauce was also superb – well cooked chicken with skin on and another fabulous sauce including chilli, oil and sesame. The dish also came with bamboo cuts which were a great complement.
A spectacular dish was the Feitengyu (Marinated fish boiled in chilli). The Manager came out with the fish (deep sea bass) in a large pot on a tray/trolley on wheels. He then poured dried chilli and peppercorns on top of the fish. Then he poured hot oil over the top of the chilli and the fish. This was spectacular as the steam rose and the aroma was amazing.
The fish cooked in the boiling oil for a few minutes then the Manager cleared the chilli from the broth. The process was so enjoyable. The deep sea bass was sublime in terms of texture and taste.
Another superb dish is the Fried braised lamb shank tossed in cumin and spicy salt. Wow! Groans around the table at this great meal. Pieces of well cooked lamb with cumin and a spicy kick that has you wanting more and more… Once again this dish was well presented. And for $24.80 it can easily feed 2-4 people. We enjoyed this meal with a serving of Steamed Chinese cabbage with garlic and vermicelli.
We finished with a selection of fruits presented in spectacular fashion once again with a swan design in the watermelon.
The wine list here is excellent and far superior to many other establishments. I enjoyed Barossa reds and noted McLaren Vale and other excellent offerings.
Sichuan House Seafood is upmarket in terms of décor and food but the value here is excellent. Some of the main courses can satisfy 2-4 people. It is still a newish restaurant and related to Sichuan House which has been a mainstay in Chinatown.
Melbourne is being treated to expert chefs from China and Sichuan House Seafood has an impressive Head Chef. Every dish called for tremendous skill.
The staff are excellent here with Manager Gerry extremely competent with vast industry experience. There is softly spoken attentive and engaging hospitality.
The décor was impressive including great timber work and mosaic tiles on the walls, intricate art work including traditional Chinese scenes, stylish tables with marble top and timber, chairs with exquisite golden fabric, and large white tiles on the floor.
Personally I love Chinese food with a kick of spice and the use of chilli’s. There are Chinese restaurants around that serve plain food or western versions of Chinese food. Sichuan cooking embraces hundreds of years of an amazing culinary tradition. Sichuan House Seafood offers traditional Sichuan cooking as well as some modern versions.
Sichuan House Seafood is also a popular destination for take away meals.
Dining here was a memorable experience.
Sichuan House Seafood395 Victoria Street Abbotsford – Chinese Sichuan - Food 9.5 Ambience 9