After a lunch and vodka tasting at Bob Bob Ricard, a trip around the Eye, a bottle of wine at Gordon’s Wine Bar and some more drinks around King’s Cross, some random Chinese food sounded really good. With Chinatown being oh-so-far-away, I took a quick look on the ol’ Urbanspoon iPhone app, and came across Chilli Cool.
Now unbeknownst to me at that very inebriated time, Chilli Cool already had already quite the foodie reputation. In fact, last year there was hardly a London food blog who hadn’t written something gushing on the modest 2-entrance eatery on Leigh Street. But like I said, I didn’t know that at the time.
Pete, Leif and I made the rookie mistake of walking in the ‘hot pot’ door on the side of the restaurant reserved only for – yep – hot pots. After realising our error, we shuffled back to the actually ‘restaurant entrance’ side, only to find no empty seats. The host then shuffled us back outside and over to the ‘hot pot’ door one more time. People were beginning starting to stare.
Finally settled, we perused the menu, picking out a dish or two each to share.
Leif went for the Spicy Tripe and Beef:
and Pete, the Chilli Chicken:
Both of the dishes came out abnormally fast, and soon we tasted why – they were both served cold. And then it all became clear – Chilli Cool. Get it?! Chilli Cool.
I won’t pretend it wasn’t a shock at the first bite (nothing like a surprise!), but it wasn’t unpleasant. It was just like having leftover Chinese food the next morning, but you know… when you order it, instead. I’m not sure the boys were as impressed though.
For my dish, I chose the Shredded Pork with Hoison:
I loved this. It was served warm. The rich hoison was coated on too thickly, and the just-cut spring onions gave the whole dish a very fresh taste.
The table shared a plate of green beans as well:
Lovely, oily, (but just so) with garlic and lemon – these are how greens should always taste.
After we left Chilli Cool, we all felt that we had discovered something very special: A tiny restaurant patronised only by Chinese UCL students in a part of Bloomsbury that’s mostly residential. How cool is that? And then when I got home to write down my notes and see if anyone else had been… well… I felt about as silly as I probably looked shuffling back and forth from restaurant entrance to hot pot entrance three times.