Recently, I returned to London for a long-awaited break, I decided to visit some old work colleagues who worked in the Old Street section of Hackney. Upon deciding on where to go, my ex boss raved about this Chinese restaurant that he had once tried out in Bethnal Green; deep in the heat of East London. As he was also of Chinese descent, I was intrigued as there are so many East Asian restaurants in both the Central and Greater London area that can simply be described as average. As he was also a hard-core food lover, my interest was slightly elevated but never piqued as I tend to keep my expectations low.
The venue….GOURMET SAN. A unique name for a unique place!
Gourmet San specialises in authentic northern Chinese food which translates to spicy and filled with chilli. Upon arrival, the layout of the venue was very simplistic; the layout was like any typical Chinese eateries / take away but that is where the comparisons stop. Once we sat down, I was regaled with urban legend like stories which were borderline twilight zone like; that Gourmet San struggled so much when they first opened that customers had to bring their own cutlery to eat with. This has not been verified!
Gourmet San has a huge selection of food to select from! 288 different types of dishes to gouge on. I would say that their best dishes are their authentic spicy ones. These include: Fried Lamb with Rosemary and Chili (&7), Stir fried lamb with chili in Hunan style (&8). There is also a good selection of seafood including: Fried prawns in honey sauce (&10) and seafood and tofu in hot spicy sauce Szechuan style (&8). Chicken, pork and beef skewers can also be ordered in vast quantities. The food is spicy but all the spicy food can be washed down with a good old Tsing Tao beer!
The service is down to earth, friendly and efficient. The final bill for three people came to roughly 35 British Pounds but this was five to six dishes and beer. I cannot recommend Gourmet San enough.
Worth traveling across the entire London region for!
Venue: Gourmet San
Address: 261 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AH