Sichuan Bang Bang, Kenmore

Direct from a four year stint in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, Renata Roberts has opened a mouth numbingly sexy Sichuan diner and take out in my old stomping grounds in the Western Suburbs of Brisbane.

You’ll find Sichuan Bang Bang at 8 Wongabel Street in Kenmore, just tucked off the side of Marshall Lane.  I walked past it many days on my way home from secondary school.

Renata is specialising in Sichuan provincial dishes, with delicacies from Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangdong, Beijing and Canton, amongst others. Using her experience managing Michelle Garnaut’s  M The Glamour Bar on Shanghai’s celebrated Bund and her passion for provincial Chinese food, and using largely local Australian produce, Renata has created a dimly lit eatery for locals to feast on the wonders of China’s authentic cuisine.

It's reasonably priced fare - the most expensive dish is $20  and you can ask for the chilli level to be adjusted to your taste.  I'm not a big chilli lover and I found some dishes were too hot for me, but everyone else at the table loved them.

While we enjoyed the offerings on the lunch menu (see below), perusing the dinner menu caused some mouth watering moments, especially the Shangainese pork spare ribs in vinegar sauce and the Spicy drunken and fried quail. Luckily, two of the lunch specials Mapo Doufu (Sichuan bean curd with minced pork) and Kung bao chicken (chilli, capsicum and spiced peanuts) were the daily specials on the lunch menu.

Returning to Brisbane after 13 years, Renata views her home town with fresh eyes.

“Brisbane has a thriving community and a strong fascination with multi-cultural cuisine so I knew it would be a perfect location”, she says.  “So many Australians are travelling to China each year and experiencing the local fare.  My vision is to allow them to continue their love of the food, in Brisbane!”

Prior to her experience in China, Renata spent nearly a decade in Sydney and Melbourne, mainly as head of Events and Marketing for local hospitality hero Paul Mathis at Federation Square, and setting up and managing events at the impossibly chic Eureka 89 for Paul O’Brien.

She has sourced Sichuan Specialist Chef from Shanghai, Kieren Zou, who brings 17 years experience in kitchens in Shanghai, London and Sunnybank to the locals of Kenmore.

Aside from Sichuan pepper and a handful of Chinese key ingredients, the produce will all be locally sourced.  “The freshness of Australian produce will take superbly to the flavours of this cuisine, and I am excited about authentic Chinese cooking utilising Aussie grown and farmed fruits, vegetables and meats ”, Renata says.

Kieran agrees and says that although Chinese cooking has a simplicity in its produce, the mixing and cooking methods vary and the method, not the ingredients, determine the final nature of the dish.

Interior artwork is a stunning product of Northern Rivers celebrated artist, Kellie O’Dempsey who contributed several pieces to Shanghai’s M on the Bund and Glamour Bar.

Watch this space because Renata has plans for an eclectic drinks list and some Shanghai-inspired cocktails that will help guests find their inner Dragon.

Fried vegetable Gotye dumplings (named after the province rather than the singer:)

Spring onion omelette with oyster sauce

Minced pork dan dan dry noodles

Mapo Doufu - Sichaun bean curd with minced pork

Xinjiang beef

Pumpkin cakes with sesame seed

Tang Yuen - sweet sticky rice balls with peanut paste

Here's one of the Tang Yuen - it was a delicious mouthful of creamy, crunchy peanut paste wrapped in soft rice

Bottom line: Definitely worth the drive to Kenmore. Even better if you are a local. Takeway is a great option.
Best tip: The dessert was a real surprise.

Disclaimer: E,d+bK paid for this meal.