Temple of Heaven – Chinese/Szechuan – Nottingham

Frusher on Food has seen a spate of Asian cuisine dominating the blog recently, another new opening in the city – Temple Of Heaven welcomed its first customers in May. Whilst I may have the craving for something a little different it’s good to get in early and be able to compare. The restaurant sits on the site of what was Bar De Nada and retains some of the original features. This creates a jarring, but charming, juxtaposition of bright new colour scheme (orange and black) and old cast iron sewing tables.

We were presented with both Chinese and English menus, both containing the English language. Rather than their geographical epithets they may well have been labelled “standard Cantonese” and “the interesting stuff”. We were a fivesome on this particular evening and ordered 6 dishes between us, mostly from the “interesting stuff”.  There was also chicken satay for Jack (I felt the need to name and shame).Given the relative lack of patrons quite a wait ensued before the dishes arrived in quick succession. A Szechuan chicken dish was first to appear which turned out to be ChongQing from a recent visit to Shanghai Shanghai. If anything this was a better example, slightly less heat but a moister bird and less bone. Our vanilla choice for the evening (satay aside) was a king prawn with black bean dish. It was a good example but not too exciting, I always wonder why they don’t put a little more heat in which would really lift the umami of the sauce.

King Prawns with Black Bean Sauce

King Prawns with Black Bean Sauce

Pork with Chinese mushrooms had traditional funghi I didn’t personally recognise but that worked well and added a different texture to the dish. The most disappointing choice (satay aside) was one of beef. The sauce was heavy handed with overpowering garlic; the meat itself had possibly been steamed or poached. Regardless of technique employed it met an undignified end with an unpleasant, chewy texture.

Sliced Pork with Chinese Mushrooms

Sliced Pork with Chinese Mushrooms

Our final choices were vegetable dishes to balance the spice and richness of the meaty ones. Unfortunately that plan didn’t come to fruition; green beans were served with mince and aubergine rich and sweet itself. These were a nice addition, my fellow diners more complimentary than I about their credentials but they didn’t counter or provide the neutrality we were looking for.

Green Beans with Chilli Oil

Green Beans with Chilli Oil

Service was friendly throughout with the feel of a family run operation which is something it’s competitors have lacked. The food itself was good and not far from Shanghai Shanghai. Temple of Heaven though suffered from more indifferent dishes and on portion size didn’t quite measure up. Another positive new opening for Nottingham all round and I will return.

Overall: 7/10

Food: 7.5/10

Value: 7/10

Service: 7/10

Restaurant website: n/a