The Forum
Ballymoss Road
Dublin 18
Phone: 01 293 5100

The China-Sichuan, in its former location, was serving authentic Asian food way before Ireland had anything like an authentic Asian population. These days we have our own Chinatown in north inner city Dublin but younger people may not realise that it’s so recent an addition to the fabric of the city.

I discovered the old China-Sichuan with my family when the children were young and we have been going back ever since, often for significant life events, occasionally just for fun. It’s where my girls all learned to use chop sticks properly and it has a very special place in all our hearts. These days it’s a place to gather when we are all in Dublin at the same time.

Now, the closest I’ve been to China was Hong Kong, where I ate very well indeed and I’ve enjoyed sampling dishes from many parts of that populous country. I love eating in the Chinatowns of major cities around the world, but nothing has ever eclipsed, for me, this south Dublin outpost of China.

It’s a very fine, very modern restaurant created by Kevin Hui who had, with his parents, the original China-Sichuan in Kilmacud. Mr and Mrs Hui had a Chinese restaurant in Dún Laoghaire in the late 1960s when Kevin was born.

Don’t expect the kitsch that goes with so many Chinese establishments in Ireland. The China-Sichuan, by comparison, is n exercise in zen minimalism and good taste and a kind of beatific calm cocoons the dining room. To be perfectly frank, this is one of the city’s coolest restaurant interiors.

The move, now quite a long time ago, to Sandyford upset some of the regulars who were used to having this iconic restaurant within staggering distance but, while the restaurant is now in the business district of Sandyford, it’s very handy for the Luas (literally 3 minutes’ stroll away).

Even if you had to negotiate river gorges, the food is well worth the effort. Indeed, there is no other Chinese restaurant in Ireland that operates at this kind of level. I have had the most astonishing soup dumplings made by chefs just in the door from China, the nearest thing to Sichuanese beef that you will get in Ireland (absolutely nuclear) and some stupendous meatless dishes here. The wine list is excellent and there are lots of good beers but the selection of teas, and the way in which they are prepared, is unique in Ireland.

Kevin is a very modest individual but he has an eye for perfection and he is constantly striving to make his restaurant even better. The best way to experience the China-Sichuan is to ask Kevin to order for you. Otherwise, in my case, I end up eating more or less the same dishes all the time.