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Newly opened Deng G Chengdu Bistro & Baijiu Bar in Wan Chai – Sichuan cuisine

We’ve always liked Elite Concepts’ Chinese restaurants: Ye Shanghai in Pacific Place and Nanhai No 1 in Tsim Sha Tsui, so we were interested in trying Deng G Chengdu Bistro Baijiu Bar, which, in Chinese, is Deng Kee or Deng’s, named after chef Deng Huadong.

The Sichuan restaurant is located in a nondescript building on Queen’s Road East. The first floor is the baijiu bar, featuring the fiery rice spirit, although the restaurant doesn’t have its liquor licence yet so isn’t serving alcohol. There are no mocktails on offer, but they’re serving other non-alcoholic drinks such as sour plum juice in plastic bottles (HK$25 each). Serving it in a glass would have been nice.

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The decor is haphazard, with navy and white Chinoiserie screens, and a few colourful bamboo-like sculptures by the bar. Diners sit at wooden tables. It’s cosy and tables are close together as space is at a premium.

The menu tries to explain the subtleties of Sichuan cuisine withsections that include “mala taste”, “wu la taste”, “sweet and sour taste”, and “spicy pepper and salt taste”, along with chillies to indicate spice levels.

Our meal started well with sliced pork with garlic and chilli (HK$75). The delicate, thinly sliced pork with garlic sat in a small orange-red pool of chilli oil that fired off the first salvo of spiciness.

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Next came diced chicken with chilli and cashews (HK$110). It was a mild version, unlike the northern Chinese style that has Sichuan peppercorns and more dried chillies. We wanted to eat this with rice, but had to ask twice, and the bowl we finally got was very small.

Chengdu-style pork dumplings (HK$30 for two) had delicate wrappers, butthe meaty filling didn’t have much flavour.

A non-spicy dish of braised baby Chinese cabbage with ham (HK$110) was a highlight – the broth was flavourful and not too salty.

We appreciated how the fish slices were slightly crunchy in the dish of crispy fish in spicy sauce (HK$328), but the flavour was overwhelmed by the cloyingly sweet sauce. We lost interest halfway through.

By the time we ordered dessert, the restaurant was quite busy, and it took about 20 minutes before we were served our order of fermented glutinous rice in ice powder (HK$30). It was quite refreshing, but not worth the wait.

Deng G Chengdu Bistro Baijiu Bar, 2/F Weswick Commercial Building, 147-149 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2609 2328