Middle Kingdom is now the only Sichuan place on our list. The city centre’s other offerings have been scratched for various reasons – we’d culled one because the food quality had deteriorated, another because the toilets were so filthy it made you wonder what went on in the parts customers don’t see – like the kitchen. But Middle Kingdom seems to have it all – good menu, including all those weird offaly dishes that you’re never going to order, great prices, vast quantities, comfy chairs and, yes, clean bogs.
Portions are indeed vast, so we skipped starters as usual. Pork featured in both mains. Fish fragant shredded pork was a winner – shreds of pig and vegetables in a slightly sweet, but very chilli, sauce that was no more than a clinging one. Dry fried green beans is a regional classic and one my partner enjoys so much it’s pretty much a standard order whenever we visit a Sichuan place. Cooked, yet still a bit crunchy, green beans, little nuggets of pork, a few dried Sichuan chillis, a little soy and a zing from ginger. It’s a belter of a dish. Rice is also good – as you’d expect.