Over the recent Chinese New Year, we had dinner at Yipin, a recently talked about Hunan restaurant in Islington. We go to Chinatown almost once a week for no other reason aside from the bao zi, and so it was time to try something different for a change.
Overall, the meal was good, but not great. I feel that if a restaurant is going to design a fancy menu full of delicious pictures of the dishes, the actual dishes should at least somewhat resemble those pictures. Instead, my expectations were naturally built up from the menu and the food didn't really fit the bill.
Man and wife offal slices - one of my favorite styles...a sichuan cold "salad" of beef scraps like tripe and tongue, bathed in fresh chili oil with fresh cilantro. I liked this version because the numbing flavor was not overpowering.
Next, the octopus dry wok. I was eying this dish from the website and it was indeed really flavorful and spicy, and I like that it wasn't overly soaked in chili oil like sichuan dishes are. However, one drawback was that the octopus pieces were not cooked very evenly.
Fish is a must over Chinese New Year, and we went for the sliced fish with chopped chilies. This was somewhat disappointing as the fish was a bit bland and overcooked. This picture also makes it look unappetizing... must start bringing around my good camera.
Concerned with having a veggie balance, we also got the chinese cabbage in rich stock. This was more like a soup which we were pleased with and I loved the flavor of the stock, it was also a very good complement to an otherwise fiery meal.