It's been a while since I recommended a Chinese restaurant on the blog. I'm often asked on Twitter to point friends in the direction of the latest authentic Chinese restaurant that I've uncovered in my non-ending quest for Chinese food. Therefore, in the spirit of sharing, I bring you Old Town located on Capel Street. Several Chinese restaurants have flared brightly at this location in the past, only to die out, but Old Town appears to be doing well so far.
The cuisine at Old Town is Sichuan-influenced, but it's not hardcore, making it very approachable. The menu is the usual book of delicious looking photos and the occasional oddball translation from the native Chinese. However, I've found the staff to be very friendly, and always willing to make a recommendation, so don't be afraid to put yourself into their hands. The interior has gotten a needed refresh since the last occupants with straightforward wooden furniture, a good lick of paint and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
|Interior at Old Town|
I've been to Old Town a few times at this stage, and I haven't had a dud dish yet. A braised or fried fish usually features in our meals, and the red braised sea bass shown below features loads of garlic, chili and ginger with impressive presentation in a large chafing dish (€13.80). It came surrounded by plenty of cooking liquor, perfect for soaking into your rice. We always enjoy our fish served whole with head and tail attached, but feel free to request a more trimmed fish if you prefer.
Old Town also does one of my favourite Sichuan treats, the grilled skewer. In this case lamb pieces are threaded onto a skewer and dry cooked over an open grill, encrusted with smoky, and slightly hot spices (€1.50 each). The classic Sichuan dish of mapo tofu came in a large bowl of rich sauce, silky cubes of smooth tofu and a generous sprinkling of lip-numbing, crushed Sichuan pepper. At €8.80 this is a great value dish and despite the Sichuan pepper dusting, the overall heat profile was moderate enough.
|Spicy lamb skewers|
So, if you're in the mood for Chinese food, I'd really recommend Old Town. Dishes such as fried green beans with minced garlicky pork or braised aubergines with pork mince are packed full of flavour without being spicy, while the fierier dishes such as Chongquin chicken will satisfy the heat hounds. As usual with the northside Chinese restaurants, prices are excellent value.
Tel: +353 (0)1 873 3570