We’ve been looking for a new Cantonese place in the city centre after falling out of love with a place just on the outskirts of the centre. Tried a couple of the well known names and came away distinctly unthrilled. I’ve been to the Little YS for lunch a couple of times and thought it worth a try for dinner. Proved to be a good bet with my companion in life (who is not the biggest fan of Chinese food) liking it and reckoning it better than the original place we used to go to.
We shared some dim sum to start. Har kau seemed to me to be a good version of the prawn dumpling – tasty filling wrapped in a not overly thick “wrapper”. What were described as Shanghai style mini buns were more dumpling than bao bun (which is what we’d expected) but had a lightly flavoured beef filling. Vegetable spring rolls provided a bit of crunch and had a decent flavour of star anise. We liked the soy and ginger dipping sauce – the ginger giving it a little background heat.
My original main course order was for pork in “Cantonese sauce” but the server advised their version was very sweet and not to everyone’s taste. That would include me. So I changed to another pork dish coming with garlic and a mildly spicy sauce. The spice came from the inclusion of dried chillis (as I’m used to in Sichuan dishes) but it was very restrained in its use. I liked this, particularly with a crunch coming from lightly cooked Chinese cabbage and water chestnuts.
My companion often becomes vegetarian in Asian restaurants and spotted what is probably an entirely untraditional dish of kungpo vegetables. There’s a good mix of veg – cabbage, water chestnuts, carrot, baby sweetcorn, cashews, etc. And a lot of chilli! We both reckoned the sauce was a good interpretation of a Sichuan gong bao – soy coming through but helped along with a little background twang from vinegar and a hint of sweetness.
Knowing that quite a number of restaurants in Chinatown can be very manky, we now check out the official food hygiene ratings on the “scores on the doors” website before going anywhere. Truth be told, that does restrict your choice a fair bit – but better a restricted choice than take a risk with your well being. Even then, if I’m thinking of coming back, I always make a point of using the toilets – I reckon if a place has manky toilets, then it’s probably even worse in the areas customers don’t get to see – like the kitchen. No worries with the Little Yang Sing, the restaurant space is modern with well spaced tables, good service – and very clean bogs.