I’ve never been to Middle Kingdom and am no expert on Sichuan food, but enjoy going to Crystal China in Bermondsey. It’s not a Sichuan restaurant but they have some Sichuan dishes, and are known for their dry hotpot. Hotpot seems to be almost trendy in London now, but I still haven’t seen another dry hotpot. Portion wise it’s pretty huge.
thanks for this, lex! i will look out for it. we used to go to Dragon Castle on walworth road, which was ok. he liked it more than i did but then i tried it after returning from ‘my other home’ - toronto - where i am always spoiled for chinese food. comparing the fresh and vibrant buddha’s feast in toronto to dragon castle’s gloopy soy-sauced mess wasn’t the best experience. i really enjoyed reading the chowhound articles…a bit scared of the number of times ‘vinegar’ is mentioned. any comments on that?
I haven’t branched out to the vinegar based dishes yet and I don’t remember seeing some of the plates from the chowdown, but they have a pretty large mixed menu of both regional dishes and western style chinese dishes, ranging from the very pedestrian to quite adventurous. You also see a lot of people just getting the hot pot. It can be quite reassuringly busy.
There was talk of them having a separate Chinese language only menu with different food on it but I haven’t spotted it if it still exists.