|L607, IFS, 1 Sect. 3rd, Hongxing Rd.|
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
Any homey associations we'd attached to the name The Grandma's began to dissipate at the moment we had to take a number for a table during a midweek lunch. Then the cuisine, being Hangzhou style, felt a bit like foreign territory, and the interior, decked out in what felt like a Southeast Asian style, took us to a hip and modern place. The servers are very efficient and know the menu well, and the dimly lit interior really highlights the food and beautiful tableware.
The check off menu is translated into English with house specialties marked with stars and thumbs' up, while the spicy dishes are indicated with hot peppers. We started with Wood Ear Mushrooms, which was nicely tossed with spices in a vinegar dressing and up to par with any local version. Their Mapo Tofu is popular too, but we wanted to try some Hangzhou style food so ordered the Longjing Shrimp, which came with a bowl of dry ice for effect. The shrimp were graced with a few leaves of the eponymous tea but were very mildly flavoured. The server steered us to the Steamed Fish, one of the best dishes of the day, fresh and flavourful with its simple preparation and presentation, which made us appreciate this different style of food. We ordered a dish of Mountain Yam and Lily Bud that came steamed tender crisp and covered with osmanthus syrup. Another winner of a dish was the Sweet and Sour Pork, boneless and crispy fried and perfectly lacquered with a dark, sweet sauce that was tangy from excellent vinegar. We could feel the love in this dish, as well as in the fragrant, perfectly steamed rice which brought the comfort food vibe back in one beat.
The Grandma's has a long wait on most days – we counted up to fifty people sitting outside poring over menus. They are offering an unusual style of food in town for a very reasonable bill, and we now have a go-to place in town for sweet and sour pork. Expect to pay 50-80RMB per person.