|B211&B212, Building B2, Raffles City, 3 Sect. 4th, South Remin Rd.|
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
Sichuan style grilled fish is one of the dishes that best showcases the hot and numbing ma la flavours characteristic of local cuisine, and this Raffles City spot is one of the city's hottest places to eat it. We didn't expect to have to wait for a table early on a Tuesday evening, but there were already three parties ahead of us. They do have a system for queuing where each waiting party gets a slip of paper with a QR code. Scan the code and your smart phone can tell you where you are in line. At any rate, if there are a few tables ahead of you, the unique architecture and shopping environment at Raffles City makes it one of the best places in town to kill some time.
The menu, in characters and English, has a few kinds of fish that can be matched with the diners' choice of seasonings, but we had our eye on their house specialty: Chongqing Style Grilled Fish with Soft Tofu. We asked the server to bring us the fish with the fewest bones and chose potato, rice cake, and cabbage from a check-off selection of vegetables to be cooked with it. Since grilled fish usually takes time to prepare, we asked for a few skewers of their Charcoal Grilled Sweet and Sour Ribs to nibble on while we were waiting. Their Peanut Milk is only served warm, which is a puzzler, so we asked for a pitcher of cold Plum Juice. The fish came grilled crispy and flavourful with spicy seasonings melting into it, piled high with dried chilies and flanked with slabs of soft tofu bubbling away in the chili broth. We were digging in vain for the vegetables we'd ordered when a server brought them in a separate dish; diners add them to the pan hot pot style after the fish has been stewing for a while.
The restaurant's interior is very well designed. With a full house, it feels like there is a nice buzz of energy without being too loud, and the lighting makes each table feel private while showing the food and fellow diners in a flattering hue. The efficient staff are very good at taking care of guests. Our bill for three was just over 200RMB.