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Sitting down in Wuli Wuli you get a cheap looking homemade menu that’s split into two halves. The 1st half seems to be taken up with Westernised classics like sweet n sour, things in black bean sauce etc, and then — weirdly — it suddenly slips into a whole new gear with a half on ‘Chinese Food’ as they call it, and Sichuanese numbers. Some of these are hilariously translated (‘Saliva chicken’) and some of them are recognisable classics — hotpot dishes, stewed aubergine etc.
We went for a side of ‘smacked cucumber’ which was cold chopped cucumber with spicy oil and strong sesame overtones. It was good. Cooling but spiced. I had a spicy ‘baby chicken’ dish — the name escapes me but it’s obvious — and that was very pleasing. Small tender chunks of chicken, bone in, that you worked round in your mouth before spitting out. Good heat, but nothing mad.
We also got the aubergine hotpot, which in Chinese reads as fish fragant aubergine. There’s no fish in it, but there is minced pork. It was competent but not as good as the versions I’ve had in nearby Dragon Castle, or Soho. The rices were good, though plenty of msg in the egg fried version.
Service was very attentive and friendly. The decor at least tried to be stylish and was quite pleasing and is one of SE5’s ‘nicer’ ethnic eateries, though nothing special. Some money had definitely been spent on the bogs. The effect was slightly let down by the naff Chinese pop on the stereo, and the plastic menus.
Quite a few mainland Chinese folk were eating at the time — always a good sign. It’s a good place with plenty of interesting stuff to explore on the menu, though there might be a bit too much offal for Western palates. And I’m sure they do the classics well.
Prices were cheap but not what I'd call a bargain. Dinner for two with some drinks came to around £15 each, but that was with a discount for it being its first week of opening. The mains were around £7 each.
So, all in, a good experience and one to be recommended.
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Phil in Camberwell
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7
Friday, September 24, 2010