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Tuesday 26 July 2011

London Restaurant Reviews – Tian Fu (Szechuanese in Shepherd’s Bush)

I find there is no better way for me to discover the London restaurants I write about here than through word-of-mouth recommendation. So when Jen of Dashi Dashi called me and Dr G up to invite us to join her, Su-Lin of Tamarind & Thyme, and May of Slow Food Kitchen at her local Sichuanese restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush, I knew I was in for a treat.

The restaurant is in a good location at a busy corner on Wood Lane, close to the BBC building and Westfield Shopping Centre. Tian Fu does not look very attractive from the outside and unless you walk in, it is difficult to realise how large and airy the restaurant is. Parking, even on a Saturday afternoon, is tough and also quite pricey in the immediate area, but Dr G managed to find us some free parking spaces a couple of blocks away from the restaurant.

Service was efficient but sullen. We were not rushed, but still, I would not describe Tian Fu as a place to hang about or have a relaxed meal. Portions were surprisingly generous and well priced. We ordered a selection of 6 dishes including two of my favourites - “Dry-fried Green Beans” and “Fish Fragrant Aubergines” @ £6.80, both a must in any Szechuanese meal as far as I am concerned!

Tian Fu’s Dry-Fried Green Beans were beautifully cooked – flash-fried with minced pork and vegetables, the bean skins were slightly blistered with the intense wok heat, but still kept their bite, tasting delicious.

The Fish Fragrant Aubergines were also delectable – silky and yielding in a fantastically rich sauce. I love making this at home, and was surprised to find no trace of fish the first time I made it! I discovered that the name refers to the Szechuanese method of preparation usually associated with fish, resulting in hot (chilli bean paste), sour (Chinese black vinegar), salty (soy sauce) and sweet (sugar) flavours in equal measures.

We also ordered the “Dry-Braised Beef Tendon @ £8.50 - I never thought I would enjoy tendon as much as I did but Tian Fu has definitely converted me. The tendon had an intriguing but firm texture and was fried in a slightly sweet and chilli sauce with celery, pak choi and spring onions, a really lovely dish.

The “Cumin Lamb” @ £8.50 was another winner. Thin and tender slices of lamb fried in heaps of cumin and onion, this dish was incredibly flavoursome and beautifully accompanied by the Fish Fragrant Aubergines and white rice.

The “Grilled Sea Bass in Chef Special Chilli Sauce” @ £12 was again delicious – a whole fish battered and deep-fried and served in a rich black bean sauce with chillies, spring onions, minced pork and peanuts.

The weakest dish in my opinion was the one I chose – “Water Boiled Pork” @ £8. I love this dish at Chilli Cool (reviewed here) where it is called “Sliced Beef Sichuan Style Lavishly Topped with Chillies and Sichuan Pepper”. Unlike Chilli Cool’s, Tian Fu’s version lacked the richness and consistency of the sauce, was a little watery and had little if any Sichuan pepper. It tasted good, but not as delicious as I know it can be.

I really enjoyed Tian Fu, and was pleased to find another excellent Sichuanese restaurant in London. I would definitely return to Tian Fu if I happen to be in Shepherd's Bush. Thanks Jen for organising lunch and introducing us to Tian Fu!

Cost: £72.20 for 5 people (£14.45 per person) including tea and service - this is excellent value.

Likes: good cooking, generous portions, excellent value for money.

Dislikes: grumpy service.

Verdict: Tian Fu is a West London restaurant serving good Szechuanese food at excellent value. Portions are generous, but service is a let-down. I will definitely return. Recommended. 

Tian Fu on Urbanspoon


  1. TianFu is one of our favourite Chinese restaurants in London - it is just 10 mins from us does help. The dishes are very authentic and un-pretentious. I cannot believe that you did not order the most signature dish of all Szechuanese food - the "water boiled fish". There are real fish in this dish!

    We visit this place about once every fortnight and we always have order this dish. For just £12 (appro), you get a giant bowl of spicy broth and loads of sea-bass fillet floating in it. This is one of the best "water boiled fish" that a lot of my Chinese friends had tried and they had tried loads of this dish back in mainland China.



  3. Some of the dishes,by no means all, can be very good but quality has varied. I can't go there any more though because of the awful service.

  4. We been going to this restaurant for a few years now as my wife like spicy food. The food not amazing but not bad. But the last few times our meals wasn't enjoyable as we had to put up with this cold rude old waiter there. This time he carelessly push him self though the tables and knowing my baby was standing near the table he knocked her head right in the stone table. No apologies he said do mind your children. my baby was crying in had a few tears. shock by the behavior of the staff we complain to the own which she and the other waitress are very nice and friendly apologise on he's behalf and said please for give him he's old and still working as a waiter have pitty. we still never got a sorry from the old guy, instead he was smiling though out and when we left he didn't say sorry, thank you or good bye, just said be carefull mind your children twice. Rude waiter don't go well with any food especially if you are paying for it.


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