Yummy Chilli / Yummy Sichuan

Jackie McMillan
5th Feb 2023

A steady stream of children are thundering past our table on scooters. Loud grunts emit from a man doing tai chi in the middle of the park. There’s a bemused dog on a leash at the next table trying to work out what to chase first. Somehow it’s okay: an example of well-designed and well-utilised public space accompanying high density living. The restaurant — which is either called Yummy Sichuan or Yummy Chilli (signs utilise both) — fills up around us. It’s a two-part business, with some here for a taste of the hot stuff and others eating The Cake Man’s layered watermelon cake knockoffs loaded with cream.

We get stuck straight into cumin beef ($21.80), which is probably the best (and definitely the spiciest) version of this dish I’ve eaten since I visited Shanghai. Flavoured intensely with cumin, the tender shreds of beef are interspersed with beautifully cooked vegetables: bias-cut crisp celery, sweet onions, red chillies, and green shallots. We up the vegetable quotient further with eggplant and round beans ($17.80) where blistered beans join silky eggplant and crisp green capsicum: again, beautifully cooked. Along with iced teas ($5) - the restaurant is unlicensed and our server laughed when we asked for TsingTao - the vegetable dish helped to put out the mouth-fire generated by the spicy beef.

Multiple types of chilli overlaid with with numbing Sichuan peppercorns make the dry pot chicken ($35.80) quite the palate adventure. It’s currently on special with two free bowls of rice. Unlike the menu picture which shows the tasty, dry-fried bone-in chicken pieces sitting over potato gems with large pieces of woodear fungus, our dish comes without visible fungus over a scattering of chips. At first I scoff, but as the commercially produced chips begin to soak up the dish’s flavoursome oils, I find them quite compelling. I’m not going to lie:this dish had some residual effects.

Shop 2/1 Magdalene Terrace, Wolli Creek