Regional Chinese food options have improved significantly over the past decade, yet Dainty Sichuan remains a red-chilli standard for things hot and numbing. And although the Dainty empire has expanded and diversified, its Toorak Road mothership remains a holy site for loyalists. This two-storey house of chilli and lacquered timber serves an exhaustive menu, so bringing a posse (regulars say six, minimum) is essential to making the most of your visit. Cold slices of tripe bathed in a mouthtingling chilli oil taste both hot and cooling. Crisp fingers of "fish flavoured" eggplant, which buzz with no small amount of garlic and chilli, have a cult following for good reason, as do the fiery hotpots. It's not all daredevil cooking. Dry-fried green beans, pickled vegetables and freshly squeezed watermelon juice offer respite from the heat. Rote service needs attention, but on the whole, the pleasure outweighs the pain at this institution.
(03) 9078 1686
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This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.